It often feels like we go and go without respite, one day blurring into the frantic next. The physical and mental stresses of daily life can certainly take their toll if we don’t stop, come into the present moment and nurture ourselves (as well as each other).
Enter Ayurvedic scalp massage, sometimes simply called oil scalp massage—it’s an easy, inexpensive, luxurious treatment you may self-administer or perform for a deserving friend.
The basics of Ayurvedic scalp massage
One of the most relaxing things you can do for yourself or a loved one is to perform an Ayurvedic scalp massage. Ayurveda (aka the sister science to yoga) is all about creating and maintaining balance and health.
Most of us are literally starved for pleasant, non-sexual touch. ASM gives us the opportunity to deliver loving, compassionate contact that also yields health benefits.
Through the use of all-natural oils and simple, repetitive strokes, you can reduce stress, promote healthy hair growth and condition the hair so that it becomes more manageable. There’s no over-the-counter hair conditioner or masque that will provide the healing benefits of a proper Ayurvedic scalp massage.
Traditional ASM may include a gentle massage of the neck and shoulders in addition to the scalp. There are dozens of videos on YouTube that demonstrate how to go about it; here’s one that’s nice and short.
Ayurvedic practitioners and day spas also offer ASM as a paid service if you don’t have the time to learn how to do it yourself. However, I’d encourage you to try it at home—it’s not difficult, and can help you and your loved ones feel incredibly relaxed.
How to administer an ASM
- Drape a towel over the shoulders to protect clothing. Play soothing music and dim the lights.
- Turn off or put away your phones and all other electronic devices.
- Pour 3tbsp of any carrier oil into a small bowl. You may wish to try almond, coconut, neem, or jojoba oil.
- Dip your fingers into the oil and begin to rub your scalp gently, using circular motions. Alternate to short vertical, then horizontal strokes all over the scalp. Work your way around the entire scalp, wetting your fingers with additional oil as you work.
- Be sure to massage the entire scalp, being careful not to get any oil in the eyes. If needed, add more oil to the bowl.
- Massage all the way down to the ears. Ru a bit of oil into the earlobes; it feels really lovely.
- Massage the back of the neck with slow, long strokes.
- Repeat the entire process if time allows, keeping calm, loving energy as you go.
- Wrap head in a clean towel and either lie down for 30-40 minutes before showering and washing hair or leave the oil in overnight for a deep conditioning treatment.
Bonus Spa Upgrade: Wet a towel in hot water, squeeze out the excess water, then wrap the towel around your head after the scalp massage. This warm, wet heat helps to deeply condition the scalp and hair. You can even leave the oil on overnight—just cover your pillow with another dry, clean towel to safeguard your bedding.
The many benefits of Ayurvedic scalp massage
- Gently and safely treats and prevents dandruff.
- Removes product build-up from styling products, shampoos, and conditioners.
- Relieves a dry, flaky, tight scalp, which often becomes painful when left untreated.
- Stimulates hair growth where thinning is most visible (without prescription drugs).
- Loosens clogged follicles, moving dirt and sebum build-up that slows hair growth.
- Beneficial for those who suffer from migraines.
- Promotes deep and restful sleep when performed at bedtime.
- Lubricates and distributes healthy oils, preventing flaky, dry scalp without using toxic products.
- Relaxes the scalp and loosens the tight, tense skin on your head.
- Improves circulation of the neck and head.
- Softens and conditions hair, increasing luster, shine, and manageability.
- It helps aging hair look more youthful by preventing split ends.
- Makes colored and processed hair look and feel more healthy and vibrant.
- It helps restore hair strength and reverse damage over time.
- Prevents frizziness and broken, fly-away hair.