Indian Head Massage

September 18, 2009


Having been impressed by the effectiveness of Reiki, I was inspired to try another form of complementary therapy so on Saturday I completed an Indian Head Massage course. The course I chose is devised by the Natural Therapy Studio and my tutor was a lovely lady called Pauline Johnstone.  Prior to the practical course, I received a DVD of the techniques and a comprehensive manual for home study, covering all aspects of Indian Head Massage, including anatomy and physiology and information for professional practice. There were three of us on the course, which turned out to be the perfect number, and the practical was held in very pleasant surroundings at Pauline’s rural home.

I was particularly drawn to Indian Head Massage rather than any of the other holistic therapies for a number of reasons. Firstly, as I mentioned in my Reiki blog, I have been on the receiving end of this treatment and found the stress-reducing and harmonising effects of this treatment invaluable for getting me through a difficult time.

Secondly, Reiki is a very gentle therapy so I felt a more active and hands-on form of energy work would be a good complement.

Thirdly, on a more global level I feel there is a serious energy imbalance in our society and that many of us have become too entrenched in the lower chakras (I also refer to this in the vegetarian blog). Indian Head Massage is a therapy which promotes harmony by stimulating the much-neglected higher chakras (see illustration at the end of this article), bringing them into balance with the over-functioning lower chakras.

I’ll talk about this more in a moment, but first here’s a very brief history of Indian Head Massage.


Massage is mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts over 4000 years ago, so has long been a part of Indian tradition and over the past thousand years, head massage has become an integral part of Indian family life. It was originally developed by women to condition and strengthen their hair, using a selection of oils, and is now regularly used on babies and young children to aid their holistic wellbeing. It was also adapted by barbers into a more rigorous scalp massage, known as champissage. (‘Champi’ meaning ‘massage of the head’ is where our word ‘shampoo’ originates from.)

The technique we learn today was introduced to the UK by a man named Narender Mehta. Mehta studied over here in the 70s and was disappointed to discover that head massage was not practised here either in the barbers or as part of a full body massage. On completing his studies in 1978, Mehta returned to India and formulated the Indian Head Massage we now practise in the UK from a variety of techniques collected from all over India.


The Indian Head Massage is part of the ancient Hindu holistic medical practice of Ayurveda. Ayurveda means ‘knowledge of life and longevity’ and is a system whose main aim is prevention, working with negative energy before it begins to affect a person physically and emotionally. In Ayurveda, the belief is that we’re all beings of energy and that the mind, body and spirit are all connected. Therefore, Ayurvedic therapies address the whole system and work to resolve any imbalance in the life energy, known in India as prana.

I’ve discussed the chakra system in depth in other blog entries (for an overview see here and for more detailed descriptions of each chakra, see here). If our chakras become imbalanced due to an accumulation of negative stress, this can result in blockages which can lead to emotional or physical conditions. The Indian Head Massage can prevent this by balancing the chakras, resulting in holistic wellbeing.

The Practice

Indian Head Massage is carried out with the client fully clothed (though preferably in a vest top and with no jewellery) and seated in a low backed chair. The use of oil is optional but in my experience, it does make working on the neck, shoulders and arms a little easier, particularly as some of the techniques are quite vigorous. If you prefer, a moisturising cream can be used.

You then follow a sequence of different massage techniques of varying pressure – some gentle, some more invigorating – beginning with neck and shoulders, moving on to the scalp and finishing with the face.


The Benefits of Indian Head Massage

There are many benefits of this treatment for which I can personally vouch, having received weekly head massages over a period of months. The effects vary from person to person and will increase over time. Below is a list of the benefits you may experience from this therapeutic treatment.

*Antidote for stress, anxiety, lethargy, mild depression and mental tension

*Clears the mind and revitalizes mental capacity, thereby improving alertness and concentration

*Improves creativity

*Greater self awareness, which often brings the change of a healthier lifestyle

*Gives a sense of peace, calm and positive wellbeing

*Increased self-esteem and self-worth

*Helps balance the chakras by releasing stagnant prana

*Increased energy levels

*Calms the respiratory system

*Improves blood circulation to the head and neck

*Increased blood flow nourishes head muscles that can promote hair growth

*Improves lymphatic drainage from head and neck

*Improves muscle tone and mobility in head, neck, and shoulder area

*Increases circulation of cerebral spinal fluid around the brain

*Increases general circulation by bringing fresh nutrients and taking away waste products

*Relieves mental and physical strain

*Relieves eye strain, headaches, sinusitis, congestion, and insomnia

*Strong healthy shiny hair

*Better skin condition

*Strengthened immune system


The three higher chakras


If you are interested in working for the Indian Head Massage Diploma, then contact Tara Jewell, owner of the Natural Therapy Studio, via her website at www.naturaltherapystudio.co.uk

Alternatively, if you would like an Indian Head Massage treatment yourself, check out Terone Williams’ great website offering mobile treatments at www.soulrevive.co.uk.

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