Indian Head Massage - Explained

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Indian head massage (IHM) is a Hindu massage technique, tracing back to the ancient ways of Ayurvedic Indian health care. Used for over 4,000 years to improve overall health, this massage has become more and more prevalent in recent years. It is also known as champissage or shiroabhyanga and, while not always is used, coconut, sesame or olive can be used to drip through the client's scalp.

How IHM works

Many holistic health clinics offer Indian head massage. The practice focuses on the parts of the body that are most prone to tension and stress:

  • scalp

  • face

  • neck

  • arms

  • shoulders

  • upper back

Indian Head Massage combines techniques to include various massage strokes and acupressure points. Treatment includes kneading and probing of the neck and shoulder areas. The scalp is then massaged, using squeezing, tapping, rubbing or prodding motions.

The therapist will also manipulate facial pressure points to relieve sinus pressure, increase alertness and stimulate circulation.


A client's ears will be gently massaged, pressed and tugged, and their hair will be tousled. The IHM treatments are done while a client is fully clothed and clients can choose to have their treatment in a massage chair or on a massage table.

Conditions IHM helps treat

Through a variety of massage techniques, Indian Head Massage:

  • restores joint motion

  • aids in the condition and health of hair resulting in improved hair growth

  • assists with the swelling that comes with Lymphedema in the face, neck, and chest areas. See my blog post called:

    "Lymphatic Drainage - Your Waste Management and Transport System"

    For information about the Lymphatic System. You will also see a step by step self-care Lymphatic Drainage Massage that you can give to yourself that is easy to do, very relaxing and very effective. Take this link to read about the Lymphatics.

Benefits of IHM


All treatments will include massaging of the back, arms, shoulders and neck, scalp, face and lymphatics.

  • aids in relief of migraines due to neck tension

  • promotes hair growth

  • stimulates lymphatic drainage

  • relieves insomnia and fatigue

  • relieves anxiety and depression symptoms

  • renews energy levels

  • boosts memory capabilities

  • May help to increase joint mobility and flexibility in neck and shoulders

  • may improve blood and lymph circulation

  • can free muscle knots

  • may relax connective tissue

  • may aid in elimination of toxins and waste product

Acupressure Points

Acupressure is a massage technique based on the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that uses finger pressure to mobilize Qi, sometimes spelled Chi (life force energy), at specific spots on the body called acupressure points, also known as acupuncture points or acupoints. These points are physical locations where qi can be accessed to release blocked or congested energy centers in the body. This will promote free-flowing qi for optimal health and well-being.


By identifying and massaging these points, the therapist can promote energy flow to a body part that is experiencing disease or discomfort, enabling it to heal more quickly.

Local Points - are those points that target the area of the body where the patient is experiencing pain or tension. They can be stimulated, massaged and relieve discomfort.

Trigger Points - are those points that the therapist stimulates to relieve pain, tension or other problems in another part of the body, which can be located far away from where the practitioner is touching.

  • Meridians - are the channels that move through the body from acupressure point to the next acupressure point, and into internal organs. The practitioner can trace the meridians as they massage and they can show their clients how to trace their own meridians for self-care.

  • Acupressure and meridian work are integral components of many different types of massage such as:

    • ​Indian Head Massage

    • Japanese Shiatsu Massage and

    • Registered (Traditional) Massage Therapy


Acupressure and Meridian work are often used as complementary treatments, along with other health care modalities. They are often an effective adjunct to chiropractic work, among others.

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