The roots of Indian Head Massage
To help you understand better what Indian head massage is, I wrote this brief recap of the history of head massage.
Shirodhara is a type of Indian Head Massage, part of many other different types of massage that are utilized by Ayurvedic practitioners. Shirodhara is a therapy where warm oils are poured from a special vessel onto the patient's forehead. This creates a deep state of relaxation and promotes the health of skin on face and skull. This procedure is followed by a gentle Head Massage that completes the procedure.
Champi is an Indian tradition of head massage commonly found in the barber shops of India, where a man would go for a morning shave and a head massage and is very common with a haircut. From birth to adulthood, family members share the tradition of massaging each other. Mothers and grandmothers have always practiced scalp massage, helping daughters to keep a healthy hair and scalp and this has become a part of the family life and it transmits from generation to generation.
Head Massage appeared in ancient India as part of Ayurveda the traditional Indian medical system. Later it was brought in Tibet by the Indian Gurus which passed the science to Tibetan Monks. The Tibetan Head Massage, although has the same roots, has evolved different and is now a more gentle technique and involves a lot of acupressure.
The rigorous transmission of the science among the Tibetan monks maintained the original approach, of an Integrative healing practice.
In India, head massage is widely spread, and is a family tradition passed from generation to generation. Women use head massage as a grooming practice and as a hair care routine. As a result the practical side of it gained more importance in the detriment of the spiritual side.
Today the western Head Massage combines the two branches into a single powerful tool.
The promoter of Indian head massage in the west is Narendra Mehta and he is considered the founder of the Indian head massage as a massage modality. During a visit in India to research massage traditions, he studied the local procedures, and based on that developed the new massage technique, which he called Champissage. He introduced his new technique the western world in England where it became soon very popular. He founded The London Center of Indian Champissage International.
The western world knows Champi as Champissage, a massage practice adapted to the modern life and culture by Narendra Mehta. Indian Head Massage was brought in Tibet by the Indian Gurus which passed the science to Tibetan Monks.
How does the Indian Head Massage Work?
How does it work and what are the benefits of a Head Massage?
All Head Massage techniques are based generally on prevention, working with the individual's particular problem before it appears, but they also can work as treatment.
Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic practice where warmed oil flows over the brow chakra, creating a meditative state and balancing the endocrine system.
Head Massage Benefits
This massage modality is an exceptional treatment for the following conditions: Insomnia, Stress, Anxiety, Restlessness, Dizziness, Unbalanced Emotions, Depression, Muscle Cramps and Stiffness, Backache and Migraines. It is also reported to have helped for conditions such as: lazy liver, stomach-aches, and other. In conjunction with the use of massage oils is an excellent tool to treat skin and hair problems. Head-Massage is an exceptional preventative system against stress and a lot of the modern's world ailments. It improves the brain's activity and improves the body's awareness of imbalances. Perhaps the most successful stories, or the most talked about are the great results of Indian Head Massage for hair problems. The massage of the head, combined with an adequate nutrition will help almost anybody have a healthy hair. Read later on, about head massage for hair growth. Head Massage works on two levels:
- The pure physiological level, by increasing the blood flow, moving lymph, and changing the range of motion.
- The psychological level, by subtle effects on the nervous system.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medical system, thinks that by applying special techniques on marma points, we manipulate the subtle energy (prana), and balance chakras, nadi (energy channels). Marma are the junctions of nadi. The practitioner uses special techniques and pressopuncture points to balance chakras and to improve energy flow through Nadi.
Advanced Head Massage Techniques
Jaw Pressopuncture - ToothachePlace your middle finger on the jaw articulation. There should be a small notch in the bone configuration. Describe small circles with your thumbs, or perform static compression with your index. The painful side, (most often the cause is neuralgia), should hurt at light to moderate touch. Massage this with a pressure that keeps the pain at a comfortable level. Descend on the jaw towards the chin about two inches. There should be another painful spot. Massage this spot, on both sides of the jaw, by applying friction in the direction of the jaw articulation.
Grasp the clavicle between your index and thumb on the distal side, (the side closer to the shoulder). Using moderate pressure, glide both fingers along the whole clavicle. Do the same with the other side. Alternatively you can use the index and the middle finger for this technique.
Place your index's fingertip on the extremity of the sphenoid bone, just above the ends of your eyebrows. Make small circular fingertip frictions applying moderate pressure. This is a great technique for headache and fatigue relief. Alternatively, you can use your thumbs to make the circular motion. As a complementary maneuver you can gently press with the heel of your hands on both temples, trying to cover as much surface as possible. This technique will allow the patient sleep better, and it will help with fatigue. It is also a great aid for improving digestion in general and alleviate an indigestion.
Head Massage Video
Indian Barber Shop Head Massage
Here is a video from a barber shop in India. You can see him doing some traditional Indian Head Massage moves such as champi and a sort of light pummeling. A head massage is very rare in a North American Barber shop...
Ear Massage TechniquesEar massage will help reduce the stress, improve digestion, improve body temperature adjustment. Ear massage is also called auriculotherapy. Auriculotherapy is a distinctive form of alternative medicine which uses the auricle of the external ear as the diagnosis and treatment object. Stimulation of the auricle, alleviates health conditions in other parts of the body, through reflex mechanisms.
Pull the ear backward with light force. Squeeze the ear between thumb and index applying a light pressure. Pull the earlobe downward with light force and release. Gradually increase the pressure and the maneuvers force, but no more than about 50% increase. This stimulates all the energetic points on the ear.
This technique is very similar to auriculo-therapy.
Effleurage behind the ears
Run your thumbs behind the ears along the bony surface. Use massage oil so your thumbs glide easily and use moderate pressure. Move your thumbs downwards, and continue on the neck, avoiding the ear notch, which should never be massaged. Continue the glide until you reach the shoulders. This technique is very relaxing and will help the release of endorphins. The use of lubricant, (massage oil or lotion), is a must with this maneuver. Ear massage will help reduce the stress, improve digestion, improve body temperature adjustment.
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Head Massage - Advanced Techniques
Learn how to do advanced head massage techniques, these are presopuncture techniques, and healing touch procedures.
Healing touch, (also called Non-Contact Therapeutic Touch), is a technique that involves very light touch or no touch at all. It works our vital energy which flows through the human body. Pass your fingers gently through your subject's hair against the direction of hair growth. When you reach the head's crown you should rest for a second or two. Place the thumb and the index of one hand between eyebrows on each side of the nose. The other hand is placed on the back of the head. Start to massage in a circular motion with light pressure. Massage for one minute or two. You can only place your fingers at a close distance, (about a half of inch), without doing any movement.
Headache and anti-fatigue relief
Place your index fingertip on the temple near the forehead just above the ends of the eyebrows. Make small circular fingertip frictions applying little pressure. The first couple of times you massage this could cause you nausea but only if you have digestion problems or if you are tired. This is only temporary and after the third session you shouldn't have any more problems.
Place your thumbs on the jaw articulation. There should be a small hole in the bone configuration. Describe small circles with your index fingers. The affected side should hurt, an increase in pain is many times expected. Massage this with a pressure that keeps the pain at a comfortable level. Don't overdo it. In time both the tooth ache and the pain in the massaged area will decrease. Descend on the jaw towards the chin about a third. There should be another painful spot. Massage this spot, on both of the sides, by frictioning in the direction of the jaw articulation. Grab the clavicle between your index and thumb fingers. Pressing with moderate pressure glide both fingers along the whole clavicle. You should find painful spots along the clavicle.
Head Massage - Spiritual Techniques
Indian Head massage comprises advanced energy healing techinques, that are the norm in a session. Unlike with a body massage session, where the focus is on muscles and tissue, here there is a pefect balance between, spiritual and muscular techniques.
Marma, Nadi, Prana or Energy Healing
Indian head massage is based on the assumption that the human body has energetic centers called Marma. Marma are sensitive points that are serving as gates between physical and spiritual levels, (it is something similar to Chinese presso-puncture points). In other words we can manipulate our energetic body through these physical points. With any of the regular massage techniques you will obtain a marma activation, but this is only as a secondary benefit. Marma can be activated not only by massage or touch, they can be activated by manipulating the aura, (the energetic body that surrounds us). In normal circumstances, (healthy state), marma points are very responsive to external stimulus of any kind. For example you could point your finger, or your palm to a marma and you will activate it. This is the basis of the healing touch technique.
Your subject should be sitting on a chair very comfortable. Place your hands on each side of his neck close to clavicle but do not touch the neck. Your palms should look like they are holding a ball. The tricky part follows - slightly move your hands in a motion at about 1 move per second. Try to feel the connection between your hands and your subject. This activates the liver and digestive system and boosts the immunity. Do the same exercise putting one hand on top of the head where the hair forms a swirl. The other hand will rest on the subject's back near the stomach area. Alternatively this other hand can rest on the neck. You can do a very light effleurage on the front of the head with your fingertips. Start form the center of the front and go all to the sides.
Breathing is the key for mastering Head Massage
In order to perform a good energy healing we need to master the Energy Breathing. What is Energy Breathing? Energy Breathing is not too much different from the regular respiration. It's mostly a quality change. When you breathe energy you fill all your Nadis (energy channels) with Prana. You pass then this energy to your subject through a mental process. The energy breathing is more of a mental exercise than actual breathing. We actually use the inspiration and expiration processes just as mental support to facilitate the process. When you are breathing energy you have to choose a Chakra or a marma and imagine that you are breathing through that Chakra.
Traditional Indian Head Massage Techniques
Head massage had been used for centuries for keeping a healthy hair. In India the tradition of grooming and caring the hair, is passed on from generation to generation among women. Indian head massage uses vigorous techniques and special massage oils to increase the blood flow, and along with this a better nutrition and oxygenation of the scalp. Besides the classic massage techniques, Indian head massage techniques include specific massage movements such as:
- Champi Is a form of percussion with the hands held together as in a prayer, fingers spread.
- Tabla Tabla is a nerve stroking movement where the fingertips lightly and quickly move over the subject's head as if we were playing piano, (or the Indian tabla)
- Scalp Massage Compressions Compressions on the skull helps the consumer loosen up. It is widely known that a major cause for hair loss is stress. Any unwinding approach will help your client better cope with stressful situations in life. Make use of your tips of the fingers and push with mild force, keeping pressure for a few seconds. Move a bit after each compression.
- Hair Pulling Is delicate technique meant to strengthen the hair roots. The hair pulling consists of, effectively pulling the hair. Use hair oil on your fingers to make them glide well, grasp a few hairs from their roots, and start pulling in direction of hair growth. By pulling in this direction, you will ensure a no pain technique. Allow the hair glide through your fingers until you reach the end of the hairs. Repeat on a different thread until you do the whole head. Avoid this on subjects with major hair falling because the hairs are too easy to pull out.
- Hair Plucking The plucking technique involves plucking on the scalp like a bird pecking, briefly pulling the hairs. Hair plucking increases circulation and fortifies the follicles.
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