Scalp Massage for Healthier, Stronger Hair
Have you ever worn a tight hat or headband all day? Then you probably know how amazing it feels to get home and take it off and give yourself a scalp massage. Scalp massages, just like any other kind of massage therapy, are not only great ways to reduce soreness, pain, and stress, but they also have a TON of other amazing benefits when it comes to scalp health and hair growth! Yeah – you read that right. If you’re trying to grow out your hair – you don’t have to look any further for a possible solution. Eager to learn how a scalp massage can help you? Here are the facts:
What Are the Benefits of a Scalp Massage?
A scalp massage is a head massage that is designed to relax your mind and stimulate circulation. In general, we tend to hold a lot of tension across our hairline, behind our ears, and in our neck mainly due to stress and posture. The largest muscle in this area – the temporalis muscle – runs behind your ear, around your head, and to your back and can easily become strained during times of stress.
Whenever you feel tension in your head and/or neck, a scalp massage can really help ease anxiety and boost your mood. Especially when you use warm oil during your scalp massage, you can feel significant changes as you relax tightened muscles in the temples and neck. To really understand all the benefits of a scalp massage, it helps to break it down:
- Aids in Stress Relief: When your scalp is massaged, the rest of your body relaxes, too! Now, many spas have started to offer services to focus exclusively on massaging the scalp as a treatment. Since a scalp massage can help you unwind from a long, stressful day – they also promote better, longer sleep.
- Removes Waste and Toxins: Scalp massages are believed to help with lymphatic drainage which can help move toxins and waste from cells (1).
- Reduces in Headaches and Migraines: Scalp massages are a valuable practice for people who experience chronic headaches, migraines, or jaw pain. The American Massage Therapy Association in particular reports that a scalp massage may help reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of tension headaches due to the relaxing effect that a scalp massage has on the muscles in your neck (2).
- Boosts Circulation: To get your blood moving and flowing in your head, a scalp massage is known to help. Plus, it can help lower your blood pressure and relax your blood vessels.
- Improves Hair Growth and Thickness: This benefit actually ties into benefit #3 – as an increase in blood flow helps increase hair thickness and strengthen the hair follicles. As a result, hair grows at a faster rate and you can avoid hair loss. No matter if your hair type is fine or thick, straight or curly, or dry or oily, anyone can benefit from a scalp massage.
- Removes Buildup: Sweat, sebum (oil), and products can all lead to scalp buildup which can cause dandruff and impact hair growth. Like the skin on your face, the skin cells on your scalp eventually shed and require regular exfoliation to unblock the clogged hair follicles. Research shows that scalp massages and their positive effect on scalp health lessen dandruff by mimicking exfoliation (3).
Scalp Massage Techniques
Compared to a regular massage you’d get on your back or neck, a scalp massage is typically done with gentle pressure from the fingertips and sometimes the palm of your hand. Besides using your hands, there are also a few scalp massaging devices on the market that you can buy online to mimic the pressure from your fingers.
There are two main techniques you can use while you give yourself a scalp tension massage:
- Effleurage: This method relies on circular motions and strokes to wake up the scalp and increase circulation in your head. You can use this technique across the scalp, forehead, and temples to relieve tension (1).
- Petrissage: The second method involves a gentle kneading motion to lift the scalp. In general, this is the same technique used for deep tissue massage but much gentler.
In addition to these two techniques, some spas also offer cranial sacral therapy or CST. This type of massage uses gentle pressure on the head, neck, and back to relieve stress and pain caused by compression in the bones and spine. By focusing on the central nervous system, this scalp massage can help release tension, ease migraines and headaches, reduce stress, and promote relaxation (2).
When and How Can You Give Yourself a Scalp Massage?
While there are no specific rules when it comes to scalp massages, the common recommendation is to perform scalp massages daily or weekly for at least five minutes. There are a bunch of different ways that you can massage your scalp to help ease your stress, boost hair growth or reduce a headache. Here are the most common options:
1. Traditional Scalp Massage
This is the type of scalp massage you can do anyone, anywhere! Use the fingertips on both of your hands to apply light to medium pressure on your scalp, moving in small circles across all areas.
2. Shower Scalp Massage
Trying to kill two birds with one stone? Give yourself a traditional scalp massage while you’re washing your hair!
3. Scalp Massage Using Tools
Although some dermatologists recommend using a scalp massager, others believe that a fingertips massage is just as effective (4). In the end, it all comes down to what you prefer and what gives you the best results. Scalp massaging tools can be anything from brushes to light, handheld rubber scalp massagers.
4. Hair Oil Scalp Massage
If your goal is to boost your scalp health and keep your hair healthy, you can use beneficial, non-comedogenic oils while massaging your scalp. In other words, make sure you don’t clog your pores if you choose to use a massage oil on your scalp. Just like any other skincare product, be sure to perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to make sure you have no negative reaction to the oil before applying it to your scalp. When you’re done, you can wash the oil out with shampoo.
Written by Selena Ponton