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Tuesday, 31 July 2018 20:21

What is Indian head massage? Everything you need to know Featured

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Indian head massage, as the name indicates, originated from India and is a beautifully traditional practice that is now immensely popular amongst Western cultures. This is due to its simplicity and portability, that allows it to be utilised anywhere and everywhere, making relaxation and holistic wellness more accessible for everyone. Read on to uncover more about the benefits of Indian head massage, where it came from and what to expect if you’d like to go for a treatment.

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IHM Quick Facts

  • Duration: 10, 15 or 20 minutes for mobile treatments, 25 - 45 minutes for spa treatments
  • Body parts treated: Head, shoulders, neck (and face for spa treatments)
  • Techniques used: Circular movements along acupressure points, strokes, stretches
  • Equipment: None, may use oils if requested
  • Price: £12+ for a short mobile treatment, £40+ for a longer spa treatment

What is Indian head massage?

Indian head massage, also known as champissage, is a treatment that focuses on massaging acupressure points along the head, neck, and shoulders, often using circular massage strokes to improve hair and scalp condition.

It originates from an Indian alternative medicine system called Ayurveda, (translated as the ‘science of life’), whereby it is believed that the mind and body are intricately connected and thus can influence one another. Through this theory, is is understood that Indian head massage can not only reduce headaches and improve physical well-being, but it can also improve mental and emotional wellness too.

Indian head massage is an ancient therapeutic practice that has been used in India for over 5000 years, and requires no oils or equipment, making it a very accessible treatment, perfect for newcomers to massage. It is usually done while seated and through light clothing.


“Almost every mother in the Indian subcontinent has practiced scalp massage, which has become both a customary and integral part of her family life.”

Amarjeet Bhamra, president of the Institute of Indian Head Massage


The simplicity and accessibility of Indian head massage also means that it is a massage you can give yourself very easily anytime you need to unwind. Watch the video below from Indian blogger Sushmita who outlines the acupressure points (presented as 'Marma' points from the Sanskrit translation), and demonstrates a routine you can try for yourself, with or without the oils. 

What to expect

A typical Indian head massage treatment, usually starts with the shoulders, working into this area especially as it often holds a lot of tension. The upper back may also be massaged working around the shoulder blade. Following this, flowing motions will move up the neck massaging and stretching to relieve any stress and tension. Finally, the scalp is then massaged along the acuppresure points on the head, and in non-corporate settings, followed up by the forehead and the area around the eyes. The upper back and arms can also be massaged depending on the techniques being used.

In a spa setting, this massage may be coupled with oils, which condition the hair and promotes growth and healthy skin. Coconut and almond oil are the most popular to use, which are perfect for dry hair. Mustard oil, sesame oil, olive oil, and jasmine oil can also be used with varying specific benefits for skin and hair health.

Conversely, in a mobile or corporate setting, the massage is usually done without oils to make it more accessible. The massage will still have naturally conditioning effects however, as the techniques used will loosen the hair follicles which increases natural hair oil.

A brief history of Indian head massage

The Indian head massage is an ancient therapeutic practice used in India for 1,000 years, usually by mothers on their daughters. It is part of the practice of medicine called Ayurveda, which aims to promote long life and balance the body’s energies. It was often used with spices and herbs that would promote good health and skin.

Traditionally, the Indian head massage was used at weddings and births. Today, many babies still receive the massage to keep them in good health. Spas and barbershops have been known to use the massage as well.  

The benefits of Indian head massage

There are so many benefits to Indian head massage; here are just a few:

  • Promotes hair growth by increasing oxygen in the hair follicles which stimulates growth and health.  
  • Prevents headaches and migraines by releasing built-up tension in the head and neck area and relieving muscle stiffness
  • Renews and balances energy levels by working with the three higher chakras
  • Relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety through relaxation
  • Boosts memory capabilities by relieving stress and quieting the mind  
  • Stimulates lymphatic drainage by circulating blood to the neck area
  • Better sleep by reducing stress
  • Improves circulation of cerebral spinal fluid

Interesting IHM facts

  • Soothes the sinuses - as well as being great for headaches, Indian head massage is a great way to reduce sinus trouble for when you have a cold. To put a stop to sinus pain, simply massage the pressure points along your cheekbones.
  • Refreshes tired eyes - we all spend too much time staring at screens nowadays, and Indian head massage is one way to ease eye strain. Massaging around the eye and into the temples loosens the muscles around your eye sockets and can help them feel rejuvenated and refreshed.
  • A part of life across cultures - in countries such as India and Turkey, head massage is commonly incorporated into the barber’s service, so if you’re ever abroad, consider getting your hair cut at the local salon! In India, head massage is also frequently part of wedding and birth traditions and rituals.

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