Indian Head Massage! It sounds exotic and and it feels exotic. Flowing, gentle, vigorous, enveloping, nurturing, loosening. Feel tight muscles release, your neck becomes soft and your head feels light; your inner self blossoms like a flower opening.
Indian Head Massage is coming to Elements Yoga and Wellness from February 16.
Indian Head Massage has been part of Indian culture for over 1,000 years. It is a seated massage which focuses on the upper back, shoulders, neck, face, head and hair. It is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating and can be done fully clothed. If you love being at the hairdressers as much for the scalp massage as the cut and dry, this is for you!
It is a wonderful aid for stress, tight neck and shoulder muscles and it has helped some clients find relief from headaches and migraines. It may promote healthy hair growth with the stimulation to the scalp and the addition of lovely essential oils. Eye strain and sinus issues may also receive benefit from this amazing massage.
It is one part of the Indian system of healing called Ayurvedic Healing. I really connect to this philosophy as it differs to the Western idea of taking our health for granted until it is somehow ‘failing.’ It is about maintaining and building wellness rather than reacting to illness. It places responsibility for building our health, squarely in our hands. Ayervedic literally means the ‘science of longevity’ and is holistic, with an aim to restoring balance in the body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda addresses a person’s lifestyle and diet and promotes purification, massage and herbal medicine.
You can still observe IHM being performed in India’s street today. Men attend barber’s for their daily shaves and this involves their scalps being massaged to stimulate and refresh them so that they are ready for their work day. Women in India prize their long, lustrous hair and IHM is part of their regular grooming to maintain strong, beautiful hair. Techniques have been passed down from mother to daughter and may vary within families and regions. Oils such as sesame, almond, coconut and olive are massaged into the scalp to help its healthy lustre. In my massages I prefer to use almond oil as it’s scent is very light and doesn’t interfere with essential oils that I add and doesn’t become hard when cold. If you prefer a ‘dry’ massage without oil that is fine too. Benefits of adding oils into the hair are twofold; the smell enhances relaxation both during and after the massage and the chemical constituents in the essential oil blends can penetrate the hair follicles at the scalp and assist to strengthen and rejuvenate the hair. It is particularly good for hair that has been dyed frequently and become dry.
Sometimes you many hear Indian Head Massage referred to as Champissage. This is where the word shampoo had it’s origins. Originally, it was primarily about the head and hair. The technique as we now know it incorporates massage to the face, neck and shoulders as well as the scalp and was launched in the western world by Narendra Mehta. Narendra was a blind, Indian Osteopath who worked in London. In the 1970s after a trip home to India he realised how he missed IHM and he created his own Westernised version and started teaching. It has since spread throughout the world and has gained popularity as people have experienced it’s benefits and soothing effects
I sometimes hear people refer to the massage as a pampering or an indulgence. I align with the Eastern idea of a regular massage being part of an overall wellness plan. I frequently find myself educating people about the level of tension in their body and encouraging them to be more in touch with their bodies and allow themselves to fully let go into the massage. This assists with the bodies capacity to hold onto wellness and ward of impending health problems that can have some basis in a body holding stress and tension. Regular massage of any sort allows you to be more in touch with how you are feeling each day and to practice letting go of tight muscles or body stiffness.
Another beautiful benefit of the massage is the nurturing through touch. Much has been written about this in recent times. Touch is also of tremendous value to our wellbeing. I delight in transporting my clients to a safe haven through touch where there is a feeling of connectedness and nurture. Ayurvedic practices suggest that Indian babies are massaged regularly from birth. Massages do not stop in any part of the life span and all family members are encouraged to learn how to massage one another. This is a vital part of family bonding and promotes and cohesive, loving family environment. In our Western world, massage can be an important portal to feeling connected, where families can be fragmented or people chose to live alone.
I regularly run workshops to teach Indian Head Massage to the public and also to enable people to become practitioners. The first one for 2019 is on March 2 & 3, contact me for more details, Pam Allen 0417 357 030.