Ever wondered how to regrow that pesky receding hairline, or thicken your fine hair?
It turns out that scalp massage may be able to not only thicken but also regrow your hair, according to research.
This very precise method of scalp massage may stimulate the scalp and hair follicles to strengthen, good news if your patience for your hair loss is, ahem, wearing thin.
Let’s start with a back-to-basics anatomy lesson on the structure of your hair to make it easier to understand exactly how this massage method works. (And why it might work for you!)
The Structure Of The Scalp
Just like the deep roots hidden beneath a tree, the hair that you can see is only a portion of the whole picture.
Below the skin’s surface lies the root of the hair strand, which is encased in a covering called the follicle. Attached to each follicle is a muscle called the erector pili, which is connected to an individual sebaceous gland. This gland is critical because the oil it secretes – sebum – is what conditions the hair and skin in order to keep it healthy.
When the scalp ceases to regrow hair in areas where it previously grew well, this is the beginning of hair loss.
Many people believe that genes alone determine the likelihood of baldness. But while genetics or an abundance of certain hormones has been linked to hair loss, new research challenges the assumption that you can’t avoid it if it “runs in the family.” It just might be possible to massage your way to better hair.
How Does Scalp Massage Work?
One man set out to test scalp massage with a large sample of balding people to see what kind of effect his method could achieve, and the results were surprising. Dr. Henry Choy, the leader of a study in Hong Kong, had a hunch that trapped sebum inside the hair follicle was part of the reason for the stunted hair growth. From that theory, he hypothesized that vigorously kneading, massaging, and stimulating the scalp would restore normal hair growth again.
Whereas much of the focus of balding and hair growth science up til now has been on hormonal causes, Dr. Choy’s study shifts scalp thickness and softness into the spotlight as a primary factor in hair loss. To test this idea, he created a targeted massage technique called “detumescence therapy,” and required all of his study participants to follow the protocol religiously for 300 days.
The results of the study were remarkable. Following treatment with his specific “detumescence therapy” method, all of the study’s 100 participants were able to achieve hair regrowth. As Dr. Choy notes, “the results demonstrated that all people could have their hair regrown naturally and healthily,” when they stick to the protocol for the full 300 days.
During the hair’s growth phase, increased blood flow to the hair follicle is helpful to maintain proper nutrition for it’s rapidly reproducing cells. This means that a lack of proper circulation to the scalp may impact healthy hair growth, and since massage improves circulation this may be part of the reason for the effectiveness of Choy’s method.
The effect of scalp massage on hair can be seen on a cellular level as well. The stretching forces exerted on the hair follicles during scalp massage actually change the gene expression of the hair cells, according to a Japanese study of 9 men massaging half of their heads for a 24-day period. Over the course of the study, researchers found that scalp massage increased hair thickness on the massaged side of the head in the balding men who participated.
Using Scalp Massage To Thicken And Regrow Your Hair
Of course, like any research, the proof is in the pudding. If you can’t get results for yourself, you might be hesitant to believe any of the case studies or trials.
So how can you try this approach at home?
Well, if you have a DIY attitude, you can commit to the 43-week protocol in Dr. Choy’s study, and take before and after pictures to see if you notice a difference. You can find the explanation of the exact scalp massaging, kneading, and pulling movements his study participants used right here.
You can also incorporate professional massage into the wellness regimen for your hair. Trained massage therapists know how to stimulate the tiny muscles in your scalp and apply the right amount of pressure to increase circulation and promote vibrant, healthy hair and skin.
Schedule A Professional Scalp Massage At Home
So even if you experience only moderate hair growth results from scalp massage, it’s worth a try for the residual perks alone.
If you’re ready to work with a professional to learn the best scalp massage sequence first-hand, you can schedule a massage with a massage therapist in Zeel’s network to show you in the comfort of your own home.