I was never the type to go to spas or for massages regularly, but as soon as something’s taken away it becomes all the more attractive. I long for a little bit of pampering at someone else’s hands: a facial, massage or even just a trip to a sauna would see me right. Alas, I can’t do that yet, but I’m hopeful that day will come sooner rather than later. Until then, I can rely on my DIY reflexology, face yoga, and today’s new thing, DIY Indian head massage.
Indian head massage, known as champissage was brought to the west by Narendra Mehta who, after moving to London in the 1970s, was shocked to find that typical massage left out the head. Aside from providing relaxation the Indian head massage is said to have multiple health benefits including promoting hair growth, relieves insomnia and fatigue, and improves the nervous system. As always, I take these claims with a pinch of salt, but I am very interested in it as a relaxation technique.
I’ve had some form of head massage when having a hair wash at the hairdresser, but I’ve never had an explicit head massage. Looking back, I don’t why as I love the hairdresser’s version – it’s a sure-fire way for me to release any tension in my neck and shoulders – but I guess it never seemed a priority area. I was intrigued when I found an article in the latest issue of Breathe magazine detailing how to give yourself an Indian head massage, and couldn’t wait to try it out.
I made sure to sit in a quiet area, put some calming oil in my diffuser, and did some gentle meditation before I began. The article encouraged you to be deeply relaxed, and who am I to say no to a magazine? I then used some coconut oil for my body and scalp, and jojoba oil for my face, and following the instructions, proceeded to pinch, prod, flick, and stroke my neck, shoulders, scalp, and face. I loved playing with the pressure of my fingers when gently massaging my scalp, it felt amazing. Almost as soon as I started, I felt the hairs on my arms go up and I felt a tingly sensation everywhere, and by the end, I felt like I was walking on a cloud. It’s fair to say I felt deeply relaxed afterwards, but it wasn’t as seamless as I would have hoped as I kept having to stop, look at the article, then continue.
I haven’t had much success finding a how-to video on doing it yourself, but there are a few pages with instructions, such as this one at Yoga Journal, and this WikiHow piece. I was surprised how relaxing this felt doing it myself, and although I’d love to say I’d make it a regular thing, I sadly can’t see myself setting time aside to do it week after week. Still, it was a really nice way to unwind on a Thursday afternoon.