Indian Head Massage

What is it?

Originally a family tradition in India, Indian Head Massage in the Western World has developed from the basic principals of Ayurveda into a comprehensive holistic therapy that can be performed in the comfort of the home, treatment room, or in the office.   chhc webphoto 2992


Indian Head Massage is ideal as a program for the whole body, combating the effects of the stresses often experienced in the Western World.  This head and upper body massage technique is:-

  • Performed with the client clothed
  • Provides quick and effective results
  • An ideal treatment for anyone, which may be performed anywhere
  • Ideal for those with limited mobility

There are extensive physiological and psychological benefits from receiving this type of holistic therapy, and clients often report that even though treatments focus upon the upper regions of the body they feel that the whole body is balanced post treatment.

According to McGuiness (2007) the effects and benefits of Indian Head Massage include:-



Blood flow to the head neck and shoulders is increased
  • Encourages tissue healing
  • Improves circulation – the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and the removal of waste (including toxins)
  • Helps blood vessels work more effectively by dilating the vessels
  • Temporarily decreases blood pressure
Lymphatic flow to the head, neck and shoulders is increased
  • Helps in the elimination of accumulated toxins and waste products
  • Helps in the reduction of oedema
  • Stimulates the immunity system by increasing the production of white blood cells
Muscles and nerve fibres of the head, neck and shoulders are relaxed
  • Relieves tension, soreness and fatigue in the muscles
  • Improves flexibility
  • Muscle tone, balance and posture improved
  • Aids to relieve tension headaches, aches and pains
Spasms, restriction of the range of movement and adhesions in the head, neck and shoulders are reduced
  • Pain and discomfort relieved
  • Helps to improve joint mobility


Inflammation of tissues is reduced
  • Pain and discomfort relieved
  • The stress on bones and joints is relieved
Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system is decreased
  • Slows and deepens breathing
  • Slows heartbeat and pulse
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Stress and anxiety are reduced
Parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated
  • Promotes relaxation, rest and sleep
  • Reduces stress
The release of endorphins is stimulated
  • Aids in pain relief
  • Assists in relieving repressed feelings and emotional stress
  • Improves the mood
  • Helps to reduce the effects of anxiety and depression
Encourages deeper external respiration, and increases the rate of internal respiration
  • Lung capacity is improved
  • Tightness in the muscles of respiration is reduced
  • The increase in the flow of blood and lymph aids in the elimination of toxins
The increased circulation to the skin and hair improves the delivery of nutrients
  • Cell regeneration and the shedding of dead skin cells is encouraged
  • Elasticity of the skin is improved
Sebum production is increased
  • This aids the suppleness of the skin and its resistance to infection
Circulation to the scalp is increased
  • Promotes the growth of hair
  • Dead skin is encouraged to shed
  • The condition of the hair may be improved
Oxygen supply to the brain is increased
  • Assists in the relief of mental fatigue
  • Promotes clear thinking, and improves concentration and productivity
Tension in the eye muscles is soothed and relaxed
  • Helps relieve eye strain


It increases the release of stagnant energy and the restoration of energy flow to the body
  • Enables a feeling of overall balance and wellbeing

Treatment Time + approach:

Prior to receiving an Indian Head Massage, the therapist will conduct an initial consultation aiming to investigate the client’s needs and expectations of the treatment, to gain informed consent, and eliminate any possible reason why the treatment may not be conducted.chhc webphoto 2996

Indian Head Massage Treatments are tailored to concentrate on the specific requirements of the client, but generally last for either 15, 30 or 45 minutes.  There is no requirement for the removal of clothing, specific equipment of the use of massage oils.  The treatment is also appropriate for those that may have limited mobility or have limited time and want a quick, effective treatment that can be conducted in the treatment room, at their home, or place of employment which will create very little fuss or inconvenience.


Indian Head Massage in the Western world is a derivative of the practice of Ayurveda in India.  Ayurveda being Sanskrit for ‘science of life and longevity’.  This approach to health is claimed to be the oldest healing system recorded in India, and a practice that has formed an integral part of Indian family life for thousands of years.  Ayurvedic treatments aim to achieve balance in order to both prevent and promote optimal health, IMG_3005beauty and long life by way of balancing body, mind and spirit.  In order to achieve this, massage techniques would be used in conjunction with a healthy diet, yoga, meditation and exercise.  The Sanskrit texts date back nearly 4,000 years and record details of the use of massage to achieve harmony within the individual.  The ‘Ayur-Veda’, a book written at around 1800BC and used by the Hindus, details the principals of Ayurveda.  These underlying principals, otherwise known as ‘doshas’ were used to nourish the ‘root of life’ aiming for happiness and health.  The three main doshas were known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and it was believed that if the balance of these principals were disrupted then problems would develop.  It was believed that an individual was made up of five elements, Ether (space), Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  If these elements were out of balance in the environment, the individual would be influenced.  For example, these elements may be influenced in ways such as the weather and the food that this individual eats, and it is believed that these elements are projected via the five senses, Hearing generating Space, Touch arising the Air element, Sight the Fire element, Taste the Water and Smell the Earth, making up the basic elements of life, which were believed to be the building blocks of the universe.  Each of the three doshas believed to have sub-doshas (Prana Vayu, Apana Vayu, Samana Vayu, Udan Vayu, Vyana Vayu) each of which believed to control a function or system of the body.

Gaining popularity in the Western World in recent years Ayurveda was developed and known as Indian Head Massage.  Traditionally performed chhc webphoto 2994on the head only, it developed into a treatment that also incorporated the areas of the head, neck, shoulders and upper arms, making it a whole body program ideal for stress management.

Recognised Body/References:

FHT therapists have to undertake approved education courses, and maintain Professional Liability insurance, First Aid training and must adhere to the Association’s high standards and codes of conduct. Massage forms a cornerstone of Physiotherapy. The CSP advocates a high quality service and members are required to adhere to extensive codes of practice that protect the public and the therapist, and ensure an excellent standard of professional care to guarantee the delivery of exceptional customer service.