GUEST POST by Gwen Lewis
We all know that massage does your body good—but did you know that massage can also improve your hair health? Both regular massage (focusing on the body) and scalp massage may help you grow more lustrous, healthy hair.
If you recently got your hair cut and are desperate to grow it back out, or if your hair’s been looking lifeless lately, or it’s been falling out in clumps due to a medical condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), consider getting a massage. Combined with eating plenty of whole, nutritious foods, and taking supplements like biotin, you may be able to help your hair grow while improving its overall quality.
How does massage improve hair quality? For one thing, massage reduces stress. This is a given—everyone knows about the relaxing effects of a good massage, and how regular massage sessions can help reduce stress levels. Massage can increase the production of endorphins and serotonin, which improves your mood and reduces stress. Stress causes a disproportionate number of hair follicles to go into resting phase, which means there are fewer hairs growing out—and even more alarmingly, the resting hairs tend to all fall out. Stress also causes some hormones to elevate, like cortisol, and others to decrease, like estrogen. Constant hormonal fluctuation can lead to an increase in hair shed (as so many women post-pregnancy have discovered).
For women with PCOS, it is even more essential for them to manage their stress in order to slow or stop the hair loss. A constant high level of cortisol aggravates the condition, and worsens many PCOS symptoms. And hormonal imbalance is considered a major factor of PCOS hair loss. Massage is an excellent practice to incorporate as part of a stress management program for anyone experiencing prolonged bouts of stress, and especially for women suffering from PCOS. Combined with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, stress reduction should help reduce the rate of hair loss or stop it entirely.
While you’re getting your regular massage treatment, you should request, or separately book a scalp massage (or learn to do it yourself). Not only will it help with relaxation and possibly alleviate tension in the head and neck region, but a massage directly on your scalp stimulates the nerves and blood vessels on your head, which helps keep your follicles nourished.
Considered a therapeutic practice in India, particularly as part of Ayurveda holistic medicine for healing and preventative care, scalp massage can help prevent and fight hair loss, while improving the quality of the hair that is present. Incorporation of essential oils can increase relaxation or stimulation through aromatherapy. Certain essential oils with antipathogenic properties (like tea tree oil and peppermint oil) can also help combat certain scalp conditions like eczema, dandruff, psoriasis, or scalp dermatitis. These scalp conditions can clog the follicles, stunting the growth of the hair, or possibly damaging the follicle over time, which can lead to hair loss.
Scalp massage helps improve the overall health of your scalp, which is directly related to the health of your hair. Add massage therapy to soothe your stress, which may be leading to more hair loss—and incorporate scalp massage into your healthy hair routine to help stimulate hair growth and strength.
Gwen Eve Lewis is a freelance writer from Southern California who has contributed to several health and beauty blogs. She knows how important healthy hair is for many women and loves sharing tips she has learned through the years with others.