The benefits of massaging your scalp

For centuries, Indian women have massaged their daughters' hair with oils to encourage long, lustrous locks. Find out how to do a good scalp massage – and reap the benefits.

Like your skin, your hair goes through phases. Weather conditions, hair products, hormones, and your overall health can have a significant impact on its texture, appearance and growth.

If your hair is going through a rough patch or not growing as fast as you’d like it to, don’t despair, the answer could, quite literally, be at your fingertips. Both regular body massage and scalp massage may contribute to healthy, glowing, faster-growing hair.

Of course, you’ll have to combine massage with a good diet that includes plenty of whole, nutritious foods and a healthy lifestyle (quit smoking, exercise regularly, and get 7 - 8 hours’ sleep per night) to really see results.

Did you know?
• Massaging your head helps to increase circulation in your scalp.
• Increased circulation amplifies the amount of red blood cells in your scalp.
• More red blood cells means that growth and rejuvenation is possible.
• When rejuvenation occurs, the scalp produces more hair follicles.
• A daily scalp massage helps to increase the amount of hair you grow each month.

How to massage your scalp
Scalp massaging is best done before you wash your hair:

Step 1: Find a quiet spot, get comfortable and just enjoy rubbing your scalp. Massage it by moving the pads of your fingers in a circular motion.
Step 2: While keeping your knuckles in contact with your scalp, grab large sections of hair in your hand and then gently pull on the hair, and release. Do this over your entire head.
Step 3: With your fingers, locate the dimples in your skull, just behind the top of your ears. Apply pressure to the dimples for a few seconds, then release. Repeat this step three times.
Step 4: Lift your head and neck gently and slowly roll to the left; hold for one second, and release. Repeat this step to the right.
Step 5: Cup both your hands under your neck. Gently lift your head and hold your head in that stretch position for a couple of seconds.
Step 6: Using your fingers, apply gentle but firm pressure to the occipital hollows at the base of your skull.

The following essential oils will help nourish your scalp:

Step 1: Peppermint oil helps to improve circulation and acts as a natural cleanser.
Step 2: Tea tree oil helps soothe a dry, itchy scalp and clears it of miniscule dermatitis issues.
Step 3: Chamomile oil soothes an inflamed, itchy scalp.
Step 4: Lemon oil helps with the management of dandruff.
Step 5: Almond and castor oil helps to promote hair growth.

After you’ve massaged your scalp, you can either wash your hair straightaway or leave the essential oils on for a couple of hours to penetrate and do their work. Take a good look at the hair products you use:

Step 1: Find a shampoo that contains apple polyphenol, MSM, amino acids, biotin and caffeine, or carnitine tartrate, as these may help improve circulation and promote hair growth.
Step 2: Use a conditioner that contains olive oil. This will keep your hair well-fed and lustrous.
Step 3: Make a habit of washing and conditioning your hair at least three times a week.

(Health24, January 2014)

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