I am often asked if oil massages enhance growth and keep hair healthy. Actually, the application of oil with a light massage helps to soften the texture of the hair and also stimulates blood circulation to the follicles. The hair is fed by the nutrients in the blood stream. Good blood circulation to the follicles helps nutrition and is thus necessary for hair growth.
Pure coconut oil is said to help hair growth. It is probably the most popular oil for the hair in India. It is said to strengthen the hair and make it thick and shiny. The application of oil with a light massage helps to stimulate blood circulation to the follicles and also softens hair texture. The hair should not be rubbed vigorously. Only the finger tips should be used, to actually move the scalp with small rotary movements. Coconut oil is also said to be beneficial for the skin too, as it soothes sun-damage and has a healing effect. It softens the skin and gives it a smoother and more youthful appearance.
Ayurveda recommends the use of til oil, as it is said to restore “dosha” imbalances. Apply warm oil on the hair and scalp. Using your finger tips, actually move the scalp in small rotary movements. Oils have their own particular properties and benefits. For example, olive oil is helpful in dandruff, as it restores the normal acid-alkaline balance of the scalp.
Hot oil therapy is very useful, but for dry and damaged hair. Heat pure coconut oil, or sesame seed (til) oil or olive oil. Apply the oil on the scalp with cotton wool, rubbing gently to dislodge the flakes. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Repeat this three or four times. Leave the oil on overnight. Next morning, apply the juice of a lemon on the scalp and wash your hair after half an hour.
One of the head massage treatments one can have is a Rejuvenating Head Massage, which is done with a combination of oils and extracts. The kind of extracts that are used for the hair and scalp include ingredients like amla (Indian gooseberrry), bael (Indian quince), bhringaraj (eclipta alba), brahmi (Indian pennywort) and so on. Pure olive oil, coconut oil or sesame seed oil may be used. Many of the ingredients, like brahmi, are known to induce relaxation and even help stress-related hair problems.
In cases of excessive dryness, mix one part of castor oil with two parts coconut oil. Heat and apply. Remember to apply on the ends too. Massage the scalp gently, using only the finger tips. Move the scalp in small circular movements. This helps to stimulate blood circulation to the follicles. Keep the oil on overnight and wash the hair the next day, using a mild herbal shampoo. Avoid very hot water.
Indeed, salons today recognize the various benefits of a head massage with oil. It not only induces relaxation, but eases pain in the shoulders and back of the neck. It also relieves eye strain, which is most relevant to our times, when we spend so much time gazing at mobiles, televisions and computer screens. It also detoxifies the body and encourages lymphatic drainage, not to mention the benefits for the hair, in terms of healthy, lustrous hair.