Hair wellness starts with a healthy scalp. And giving yourself a scalp massage is a simple way to kick-start your journey to your best strands yet. Apart from feeling amazing, adding head massage —either with your hands or with a hand-held scalp massager — to your wash day routine creates a load of benefits well beyond simply promoting healthy hair.
Find out why you should add scalp massages to your routine, plus what products to pair it with to encourage thicker, fuller hair.
Benefits of Scalp Massages
From reducing product buildup and removing dead skin cells to helping stimulate hair growth by promoting blood circulation, a regular scalp massage routine boosts your hair's natural beauty by supporting the health of your scalp and hair. Here's a breakdown of everything you need to know about scalp massage for hair growth and generally promoting healthy hair. Plus, you'll find out why scalp massages are so beneficial to your overall health. Optimal scalp care is at your fingertips (or try a silicone scalp brush to level-up your scalp game)! You can use it on its own or to work in hair or scalp serums.
Here are five huge benefits of head massages:
1. Promotes a Calm and Uplifted Mood
We all know that massages are connected to the idea of relaxation. Whether you're getting a tension-busting deep tissue massage or a shoulder rub from a loved one, massage has a host of benefits for your general health and wellness, including increased feelings of emotional wellness and relaxation. And scalp massage is no exception! Studies show that a massage that specifically targets your head and scalp is particularly helpful for increasing mental health and well-being. Receiving a scalp massage helps you feel relaxed and reduces stress.
According to hairstylist and scalp massager Triana Francois, scalp massages are said to release serotonin, a hormone that plays a role in improving your mood. Using a scalp massager rather than just your fingertips can increase the benefits of scalp massage. This is because scalp massagers will allow you to direct pressure and target the most sensitive parts of the scalp, increasing the impact of your massage. Any time you can decrease tension is a good thing for your entire body (and hair!), so add scalp massages to your anti-stress arsenal stat.
2. Promotes Hair Growth
There have long been anecdotal reports of scalp massages promoting hair growth. People claim that scalp massage has caused visible improvement in their hair length and health by increasing scalp wellness and removing some of the impediments to healthy, natural hair growth.
Now there’s the science to back up these claims. In a 2016 study, regular scalp massages were confirmed to result in the growth of thicker hair. Participants massaged their scalps for about four minutes per day over a 24-week period, resulting in the growth of visibly thicker, stronger hair. A 2019 study with 340 participants supported those original findings by reproducing similar results. The participants each massaged twice per day to improve hair loss, using similar scalp massage techniques. Approximately 69% of participants said the massages improved their alopecia, reducing hair loss and encouraging the growth of new hair.
If you're looking for longer locks, double down on your efforts by adding a hair serum for fuller, thicker hair before you start massaging. Massage works the serum deeper into the scalp, increasing penetration as you combine the power of a scalp massage with ingredients that encourage thicker hair for added benefits. Whatever your product routine, scalp massage can help increase the impact of the products you use, all while feeling great and supporting a host of mental and physical health benefits. Plus, when used in the shower with shampoo, a scalp scrubber can help you exfoliate your scalp to remove product build-up and sebum, which could be weighing down your roots.
3. Promotes Healthy Bonding
One of the main benefits of a scalp massage is that you can give yourself one whenever you’d like. But your scalp health routine doesn't need to be confined to the shower.
Giving and receiving scalp massages is a great way to improve your technique and bond through the power of touch. In some cultures, it’s custom to give family members scalp massages to promote overall well-being, relaxation, and joy. Trading scalp massages with your partner or close friends is an excellent way to promote healthy bonding through the release of oxytocin, a chemical that promotes group bonding. Massagers experience elevated levels of the hormone, which promotes feelings of closeness and security.
If you’re not feeling too crazy about giving yourself one or getting a scalp massage from a friend, you can always add one on as an additional service at your next hair appointment. Not only will this treatment increase blood circulation for healthier hair follicles, but a professional scalp massager can also help you learn the perfect technique to share with loved ones.
4. Reduces Muscle Tension
Yes, scalp tension is a thing — and your hairstylist can usually tell right off the bat if your head is stressed. But you won’t really feel it yourself until someone (or yourself) starts running their fingers through your hair. Hairstylist and expert colorist Christophe Robin told MindBodyGreen.com, "We tend to hold a lot of tension across our hairline, behind our ears and in the neck; this is mostly due to stress and partly to posture."
Scalp tension can result in constricted blood vessels, which can reduce the flow of blood to the hair follicle. It can also interact with tensions of the neck and back muscles, which may cause migraines and back pain — symptoms encouraged by the spinal strain caused by spending all day hunched over a computer keyboard.
Robin says that you can combat scalp tension by getting regular scalp massages, either done by a friend, a loved one or by yourself with the assistance of a scalp massager. Massagers should ease scalp tension by focusing on the temples and the area behind the neck and ears.
5. Improves the Nervous System
You’d be shocked by the number of benefits that a simple scalp massage can bring to your central nervous system. Regular massage treatment has been shown to promote the health and well-being of those suffering from diseases of the nervous system, with massagers reporting a wide range of beneficial effects for those receiving the massages.
While most studies on the impact massage has on the nervous system have been performed on those suffering from degenerative illnesses, the conclusions they draw suggest that adding regular massage to your wellness routine helps people with all levels of nervous system functionality.
The benefits of scalp massage on the nervous system go well beyond the therapeutic effects touch has on the body, and you don't need anyone's help to reap the positive effects! Using a scalp massager on yourself can support the nervous system by promoting healthy blood flow and circulation, optimizing your body’s natural healing abilities and helping your body better balance and harmonize. Massage of all kinds, including scalp massage, helps encourage sensations of well-being and bodily coherence that can improve nervous system health and support your body's functions.
Scalp Massages Deliver Wonderful Benefits
With amply supported research confirming that scalp massage offers a ton of both therapeutic and general health benefits, there’s no reason to not regularly massage your scalp with your fingertips or a scalp scrubber. Even five minutes of massage a day on dry hair or to work in a hair serum or scalp detox treatment can result in long-lasting benefits for your scalp and hair. Plus, it feels great and comes with beneficial side effects for a happier, healthier you. What's not to love? Now get kneading!
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