I am a firm believer that anything great is made of small daily disciplines, repeated daily. Things like working out, writing blog posts, formulating new products, spending time with my friends and family, and washing my face before bed are all some of mine.
But every time you turn around, it seems companies are coming up with new daily disciplines that you must do. Like scalp massage: It sounds believable, but does it really work? And how? And what products do you need to use? Here, I get to the bottom of this:
How Does Scalp Massage Work?
In India, scalp massage has been incorporated into therapeutic practice for about 5,000 years as part of ayurvedic medicine [source: Osborn].
Although further research is necessary to formally define the benefits of massage, some studies have shown that massage can increase the production of certain chemicals in the body, includin [source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine]. These chemicals can help put you in a better mood, reducing your stress and creating an environment for relaxation.
Scalp massage also can relieve pain by improving circulation and removing muscle tension [sources: WebMD]. This can be especially helpful if you have a migraine or headache. Migraines are sometimes caused by a decrease in serotonin levels; scalp massage may be able to increase serotonin levels and relieve pain. Headaches, on the other hand, may be caused by muscle tension, which a scalp massage can also alleviate [sources: Mayo Clinic].
Does Scalp Massage Stimulate Hair Growth?
The results of a randomized, seven month trial used to investigate the effectiveness of aromatherapy in the treatment of people with alopecia areata were reported in the Archives of Dermatology in 1998. The study, conducted by Isabelle C. Hay, Margaret Jamieson and Anthony D. Ormerod in the Department of Dermatology at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in Scotland, United Kingdom, involved 86 people, all of whom had been diagnosed with alopecia areata, a condition in which hair loss is apparent on some or all parts of the human body, particularly the scalp.
The participants in the study were divided into two groups. The first group, referred to as the active group, received a daily massage for hair loss over a period of seven months. The essential oils of lavender, cedarwood, thyme, and rosemary in a blend of the carrier oils of jojoba and grapeseed were massaged into the people’s scalps in the first group. The second group, referred to as the control group, received daily massages with only the carrier oils of jojoba and grapeseed over the same time period.
Hay and Ormerod then set about evaluating the success of massage for hair loss using computerized analysis of the traced areas of hair loss shown in the photographs they had taken throughout the study. They also used a six-point scale to measure the effectiveness of massage for hair loss in the two groups. Hay et al. witnessed an improvement in 44% of the 43 patients making up the active group. In contrast, the same could only be said for 15% of the 41 patients allocated to the control group. The results of this study indicate that massage for hair loss with essential oils is an effective treatment for the condition of alopecia areata.