There’s no doubt that a scalp massage is the best part of our salon appointments. If you have experienced a scalp massage, you know how peaceful it can be. In addition to easing tension and stress, there are other benefits of scalp massages that will boost your hair condition as you age. Read on to learn more about scalp massages and how they improve aging hair.
What is a scalp massage?
A scalp massage is similar to a massage you’d get for your neck or body. However, a scalp massage is done a little more gently. A scalp massage is essentially the kneading and rubbing of your head to relax your skull and neck muscles. Your scalp is full of nerves close to the surface of the skin. Massaging the scalp relaxes the nervous system by stimulating these nerve endings – and a light touch is sufficient. A typical scalp massage uses the fingertips only.
The most common types of scalp massage techniques are effleurage and petrissage. An effleurage scalp massage is a light friction technique commonly made up of long, stroking movements which are performed using flat hands of fingers. The circular motions of this technique are meant to increase the flow of the lymphatic system. A petrissage scalp massage is a technique that applies deeper pressure to underlying muscles. Kneading, wringing, and skin rolling are common petrissage movements.
Benefits of a Scalp Massage
Let’s talk about some of the important benefits of scalp massage.
1. Improve Blood Circulation
Blood circulation plays an integral part in ensuring that your scalp derives the essential nutrients and oxygen to grow strong and healthy hair. Thousands of tiny blood vessels or capillaries cover our scalps. Capillaries are responsible for transporting blood containing minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and oxygen to your skin cells as well as carrying away waste and carbon dioxide. A healthy subcutaneous blood flow helps the hair remain in the anagen (growing) phase for a longer period of time. As you age, hormone fluctuations and genetic factors bring on the presence of dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair follicles to miniaturize and eventually shut down into dormant follicles. The miniaturization of follicles leads to a lower blood flow to the hair bulb. Scalp massages will relieve unnatural tension and ensure the blood flow to the scalp remains unrestricted.
2. Exfoliates the Scalp
Natural buildup and product residue can compromise the environment of your scalp. Your skin cells are constantly dying and regrowing. When they die, they’re supposed to shed and new ones should grow to replace the old ones. However, as you age the dead skin cells do not shed fast enough. These dead skin cells can build up on your scalp, clogging your pores and leading to flaking and dryness. The friction of a scalp massage will loosen these particles so that you can wash them away the next time you shampoo. Scalp massages can be very beneficial to those who suffer from scalp conditions such as dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis and psoriasis.
3. Boosts Well-Being
Massaging your scalp can positively impact your mood and increase your sense of well-being. Massage therapy can increase your body’s levels of mood-boosting hormones, dopamine and serotonin. Furthermore, massage therapy can decrease the hormone cortisol, which can increase inflammation and weaken your immune system. Scalp massages are relaxing, relieve stress and promote better sleep as they help you unwind from daily stressors. The reduction in muscle tension and stress in the head, scalp and face results in fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression.
4. Stimulates Hair Growth
The health of the scalp is vital to the health of your hair. A scalp message is known to enlarge the capillaries, thus increasing blood flow. Studies also show that massaging your scalp can stretch follicle cells, boosting strand thickness. Scalp massages work by improving blood flow to your hair follicle, which nurtures it to grow faster and thicker. A recent study in 2019 of 340 Androgenic Alopecia (pattern balding) patients found that roughly 69% of participants reported their baldness had improved after 6.5 months of scalp massaging.
5. Help Reduce Headaches and Migraines
Scalp massages are a great way to alleviate tension at the base of your skull, near your hairline. Research shows that scalp massages can reduce the frequency of chronic tension headaches. Additionally, scalp massages can help lessen migraine headache symptoms in some women.
Quick Tips for At-Home Scalp Massages
- Begin by massaging the sides of your head and next work up to the center of your head using all ten fingers. Then move to massaging behind your ears and then below your jawline. Finally, massage the back of your head and neck with your thumbs.
- It is recommended to scalp massage for a few minutes daily. You will start to see results in six months.
- Avoid using your nails to massage.
- If you are using oil, massage your scalp before shampooing.
- Avoid getting your hair tangled when you massage.