Educational Article: Indian Head Massage

Few things feel as deeply relaxing as a nice head massage. That’s what Narendra Mehta always believed before he traveled from India to England to study physiotherapy. As an Indian osteopath and massage therapist, Mehta was dismayed to find that most massage practices in the west did not include head massages; that treatments stopped short of the neck. Determined to reveal to the westerners the benefits of Indian Head Massage, he went back to India to learn more about the dynamics of Indian Head Massage as well as how to integrate western techniques into it. He came up with his own spin on Indian Head Massage and called it Champissage which is a combination of the Hindi word “champi,” which means practice and the English word “massage.” In modern use, the term Champissage and Indian Head massage are interchangeable. The Champissage movement took off in England culminating with the establishment of Mehta’s London Centre of Indian Champissage International in 1995. Indian Head Massage has since made its way over to the United States.

Indian Head Massage has its roots in Ayurveda traditions that date back over 4,000 years. According to the Ayurveda medicine, Indian Head Massage addresses negative energy in a person’s body that has built up because of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. After a head massage, a person would feel intensely relaxed, clearer, and overall more healthy. Indian women, especially, would luxuriate in the warm oil and exotic spices that the Indian masseuses would use during the head massage.

Indian Head Massage focuses on manipulating three main chakras in the human body: vishuddha, ajna, and sahasrara. Chakras, according to the Hindu tradition, are the center of a person’s life force and they correspond to vital points in the physical body. Vishuddha governs the throat region and its associated organs; ajna is the third-eye point and is located on the forehead; and sahasrara, which is at the crown of the head, is associated with the pineal plexus. When these chakras are blocked in any way, illness and disease result.

Giving an Indian Head Massage is not difficult and may prove to be a lucrative addition to your therapy services. To administer a head massage, first create the right ambience with candles and soft music. Next, massage your client’s shoulders working your hands inward towards the spine. Finish up the shoulder massage by working the tops of the shoulders with your forearms. Next, using your thumbs, work your way up the client’s neck starting with the base and ending at the hairline. Continue to massage the neck with one palm while the other palm steadies the forehead. Then, gently tip your client’s head back and forth in a smooth motion for a series of three times. Massaging the head comes next. Start with rubbing your fingers through your client’s hair as if administering a shampoo. Next, while holding the forehead steady, rub your other palm all over your clients head. Follow up with a brisk scalp massage using just your fingertips. Finally, run your fingers through your client’s hair root to tip pausing along the way to work small circles on the scalp.

Indian Head Massages provide many benefits. The massage is designed to balance the chakras, which in turn helps improve overall health. Other benefits of Indian Head Massage include: reduction of muscle pain in the face, neck, and shoulders; lessening of joint stiffness; relief from headaches; a deep sense of relaxation; better sleep; reduction in anxiety and depression; heightened creativity; and healthier hair and scalp.

Indian Head Massage is becoming popular in salons as well as some other unexpected arenas. Because Champissage does not require expensive equipment and can be done virtually anywhere, it is not uncommon to see it offered in malls or airports. If done in a salon, however, clients are usually offered a choice to experience the technique with or without oils. Warmed oils, like sesame seed or coconut, are a relaxing and aromatic addition to an Indian Head Massage. Clients not only receive the massage, they also enjoy the benefits of the moisturizing oils to their skin and hair. Consider adding Champissage to your line-up of massage services. Clients love it!

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