In Ayurvedic marma therapy, the head is the most important area of the body and massaging this area can benefit the whole person. By stimulating the supply of blood to the head, thoughts become clearer. The supply of blood to the pituitary and pineal glands increases – our growth, health and vitality depend on the proper functioning of these two glands. The lightest touch is registered by the brain and gently touching the crown of the head calms and soothes with immediate beneficial effects on the nervous system.

The yogis were ancient practitioners of Ayurveda and they considered the head to be an important area for massage, as the skull encases the brain, which is the seat of intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and power. Traditionally, yogis strive to make the body a fit vehicle for the spirit by the practice of asanas (postures). The yogic headstand (sirsasana) is known as the ‘king of asanas’, indicating the importance placed on the head area.


Indian Head Massage techniques have evolved from a rich tradition of family

The yogic headstand has many health benefits grooming practised in India for over 1000 years. The word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindi word for ‘champi’ meaning ‘head massage’. In the Punjab region of India, head massage is known as ‘malish’. Over generations, Indian women have been taught by their mothers to massage the head with different oils such as almond, coconut, mustard, olive and sesame to keep their hair strong, lustrous and in beautiful condition. Some oils, such as sesame, have the added benefit of being a natural sunscreen, filtering out up to 25 per cent of the sun’s harmful rays. Oils are used according to the season, e.g. mustard oil in winter for its warming and stimulating properties (particularly in Northern India) and coconut in spring and summer for its cooling effects.

Royalty and other wealthy people often had their own personal head masseurs and it is speculated that these masseurs often acted as spies, selling secrets gleaned from the master as he relaxed into the soporific state that can often result from a head massage. Similarly, it is very easy for us to tell our deepest secrets to a hairdresser we have never met before as they manipulate our hair and scalp during a hairdressing session!

Head massage can be seen in India today -performed on street corners, markets, the beach and in family homes. In India it is common for barbers to provide head massage with a haircut or even with a wet shave.

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