Learn Head Massage Techniques step by step
This article is meant for anyone who wants to know more about Indian Head Massage and for anybody who would like to learn how to do a Head Massage. This page shows you the essential techniques to turn yourself into a massage expert, the popular colleague at your workplace or the massage healer in your family. The page will lead you step by step through the various procedures used in a head massage.
Head Massage appeared in ancient India as part of Ayurveda the traditional Indian medical system. It is believed that the technique was brought later in Tibet by the Indian Gurus, who passed the science to Tibetan Monks. The Chinese traditional medicine contains as well a lot of techniques for massaging the the head, neck and shoulders. It is not known how Tui Na addopted the techniques for massaging the head and neck, but it is speculated that the three medical schools share a common root.
What Is Indian Head Massage
Head massage is a gentle and safe massage modality that focuses its work on the scalp, face, upper back and shoulders, and is recommended for anyone, with or without any medical problems. It can be performed fully dressed, therefore massage clients find it the least invasive. There are many other variants of head massage, such as Office Massage, which is a modified variant for the use of massage at the workplace. Head massage can be performed almost anywhere, hence is very mobile as a practice and convenient. Indian head massage, as we know it now, incorporates techniques from other massage modalities such as Swedish massage, Amma, Reiki, but it also has its own traditional techniques.
An Effective Preventative Practice
Today's stressful lifestyle is taking a toll on our health and many of the modern society's conditions are just consequences of our inability to rest and relax. Indian head massage is a deeply relaxing practice, hence its great ability to help with conditions caused by stress. Head massage is the most effective when used as a preventive instrument, but don't underestimate its curative ability, it is very efficient as a treating practice as well.
Head massage can help in many areas, being famous for its efficiency with hair problems such as hair thinning and hair loss. Other areas where it is most helpful are:
- Alleviates stress, tension, fatigue, and insomnia.
- Relieves tension headaches, eyestrain, ear problems.
- Treats head-aches, migraine and sinusitis.
- Helps with upper body muscle problems like neck and shoulder stiffness.
- Increases mental clearness, and promotes deep relaxation.
Preparation for the Session
Head Massage Ambiance
The proper atmosphere during any massage is important during any type of massage. Because head massage is so dependent on the mental state of the subject a good setup of the environment is essential.
Some of the secrets for a great head massage are:
- The use of essential oils in your massage blend to set the mood and enhance the therapeutic effects of the massage. The essential oils will act as a synergist with your massage.
- The use of music during the head massage session will allow the subject to disconnect from any sound distractions and, if chosen correctly, will create a good disposition relaxing the mind.
- The color environment should be chosen to promote optimism. Bright and warm colors will create a proper trusting atmosphere. Although many massage places use confined rooms with no windows to promote privacy, head massage doesn't need the same environment. It is best then to use the sunlight as is the best for your patient.
- Make sure you maintain fresh air and adjust a proper air temperature as these can be distracting.
- When you meet your patient and during the whole massage session use a low voice and a calm tone, exercise this if you need.
- Any interruptions during the session are great disruptions and put offs. Turn off cell phones, clock alarm, computer sounds, etc...
- Warm up your hands before your massage if needed. You can wash your hands with warm water and use massage oil or hand cream.
- Just before starting rub your hands together very quickly, this increases blood flow in your palms and warms them, and at the same time builds up energy in your hands.
- Remove any problems from your mind and focus on your session. Your client doesn't need you personal problems, and If you let your problems distract you, your performance will be seriously affected.
Indian Head Massage Techniques - Upper Back
Any chair massage modality, concentrates on the upper body: the upper back, including the spinal column, the shoulders, the neck, the skull and the face. The head massage techniques include Swedish massage techniques, such as effleurage, compressions, friction, kneading as well as specific techniques that are not met in other modalities.
Massaging the upper back is similar to any Swedish massage session, the techniques are the same, and you can perform any move that is suitable for the use on a massage chair and is appropriate for your patient.
Upper Back - Palm friction
On the upper back describe clockwise circles using the heel of your palm. If you use a portable massage chair the move is easy, use medium pressure and make the circles on both sides of the spine, without touching the spine, and trying to cover all of the muscle tissue. This technique increases blood flow, relieves muscular tensions and helps breaking up knots. If your client is seated on regular chair, you can increase the pressure by holding the patient’s shoulder with one hand so you can press firmer with the active hand.
Upper Back – effleurage
Using your palm, with your fingers pointed upwards towards the neck, start from the mid section of the back and glide your palms upwards. Once you reached the shoulders, continue onto the shoulders towards the sides. This technique will relax the back and the shoulders muscles. This technique is only suitable for use on the portable massage chairs that are specially designed.
Circular Thumb Friction for the Upper Back
Using your thumb, or your index reinforced with your middle finger, make small circle moves, without gliding over the skin. This procedure should be performed on trigger points, or on spine muscles, along the vertebral column. Alternatively you can use your finger knuckles, as this gives you more force to work with and it's easier on your fingers.
Fingertip compressions – spine muscles
Reinforce your index with your middle finger and place the fingers of both hands on each side of the spine, without touching the spine. Starting at the spine base, or as high as your subject needs it and make short finger compressions of about one to three seconds maximum, then move up a third of inch and do it again, until you reach the end of the spine.
Indian Head Massage - Techniques for Shoulders and Neck
Light thumb compression
Place your hands on the subject’s shoulders and start light compressing motions with your thumbs on each side of the spine, on the neck and shoulders area.
Shoulders Petrissage (kneading)
Place your hands on both of your subject's shoulders near the neck and gently squeeze the muscles between your palm and your fingers. Do not use your thumbs. Apply light pressure; this area is sensitive for most of the people.
Place your hand on your subject’s neck and gently squeeze it. Do not grasp between your thumb and your palm, you rather use only the palm to apply the squeeze. You can use any of the hands or both of them. This stroke improves the blood circulation in brain.
Place your right hand on your subject's right shoulder close to the neck. Start with a gentle side stretching to the right pushing with your left hand and supporting with your right hand. The stretching will be done very slowly, without sudden moves, and the extension should be comfortable for the patient. Perform this a few times on each side. Continue with stretching forward - backward in the same slow motion. Continue the stretching by alternating the rotations clockwise and counterclockwise. For the rotation stretching the move should be even slower. Repeat this several times. Even if the center of attention is on the neck muscles, the glands and lymph nodes in the area are a the secondary objective, and sometimes these are more important than the muscles.
More Chair Massage TechniquesMassage Techniques for the Skull Area
Starting from between the eyebrows, glide with both of your index fingers along the eyebrows to the sphenoid bone. When you reach the sphenoid bone, (at the end of the eyebrows), search for a small notch and do a small circle fingertip friction with your thumbs. This is an excellent instrument against headaches.
Head Massage Pressopuncture
Indian Head Massage includes many pressopuncture manipulation techniques. In fact Tibetan Head Massage, which is a derivation of the Indian Head Massage branch, is a massage modality that consists of pressopuncture techniques and other compression procedures. We described here two simple, yet extremely effective, techniques to fight against headache and toothache.
Third Eye Stimulation – Head Massage
This is a miraculous technique to clear the mind and regain the focus: Place your both hands’ indexes between eyebrows on each side of the nose. Massage in a circular motion with light pressure. Massage for a few minutes. Occasionally this technique can give your patient nausea, but this is only temporary, as soon as you stop the massage, the nausea will disappear. As a long term effect your patient will notice better focus, improved digestion, better sleep, better overall health. You should stop using this technique if your subject complains about nausea.
What Oils are Good for Indian Head Massage
First of all, not everybody wants oil on their hair. This is entirely at the client's latitude, and most of the people won't do it unless they have a good reason. The biggest reason is to combine nourishing oils and stimulating substances with your techniques for people with hair problems.
Another case where massage oil on hair is welcomed, is in spas, where complex procedures could include a head massage with oils.
For cases of severe stress or depression, the use of essential oils in a carrier is essential for best results.
Make sure you read the page on the Advanced Head Massage Techniques.