By Luz Dayrit, PT,DPT
It’s been more than a month since we were asked to stay home by the city of Beaumont. The world was put into halt and started staying at home due to coronavirus. For some of us, it already feels like that a month is too long to stay home. It’s only a matter of time until we complain, or worst, feel the urge to socialize. If you are one of these people, you have every right to feel what you are feeling. However, the authorities hopes us to understand that we are not only staying home for our family and ourselves, but for each one of us to do our own little contribution to “flatten the curve”. Maybe, we may ran out of things to do inside our houses. Maybe you organized all of those receipts and long awaited closet and garage organization that you have been planning. Maybe you already cleaned every nook of your room and living area, and maybe you already finished your favorite series in Netflix. Why not try “SCALP” massage? YES, a good scalp massage can help you relax and put things into perspective. According to healthcare specialists, massaging our scalp is beneficial in many ways.
Your scalp is packed with nerves and even the gentlest pressure can stimulate the nerve endings on your scalp. These network of receptors and nerve endings in your skin are the ones processing touch and sensation and sends this information to your brain. The stimulation of these nerve endings puts our nervous system in a state of relaxation which is why a good scalp massage can make you feel relaxed and “Zen-like” in a matter of minutes. In addition to this, several studies also attest to the wonders of a good scalp massage. Research consisting of a group of 24 female students, for example, tested the effects of head massage on themselves and found out that a head massage reduced their feelings of boredom and made them experienced moments of liveliness. Other studies shows that a good scalp massage can decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety levels. Researchers attributes this calming effect to increase in serotonin secretion which is a neurotransmitter and a chemical in the body responsible for mood regulation.
A good scalp massage is not only accountable in the moment that we seek pleasure but also in times we need comfort. During this pandemic, we are forced to socially isolate. As a social being, this stay at home orders caused a lot of stressed and anxiety. People even report experiencing headaches and depression. Research says that doing a scalp massage is one thing that we can try on stressful situation like this. When we are stressed and anxious, tension builds in the small muscles of the head, and like other parts of our body, head muscles benefit from a good massage. A good scalp massage can ease tension in our head as well as tension in our shoulders, neck, and jaw, during a headache or a migraine attack. Furthermore, it can reduce the frequency of these chronic migraines and tension headaches which is reported to be a common experience during this quarantine period.
Besides helping you get through headaches, a study also discovered that scalp massages can also help you get through negative experiences. The study, which features the Indian Head Massage, examined the effect of scalp massage on the improvement of recovery from an illness or injury, and they discovered that the combination of physical therapy, and therapies that affect the parasympathetic nervous system and the mood, is a more effective approach to recovery. According to the same study, people who suffer from injury-related depression have slower recovery time because the negative emotions brought by the injury cause blockages in their muscle tissues.
Scalp massage may also do wonders for some of us who are hair conscious. Scalp massage can make our hair longer and healthier by increasing the blood flow to our scalp. A 2018 study showed that the main cause of baldness in male is the DHT molecule which is a male sex hormone. But one factor that contributes to this baldness is the lack of blood flow in the hair follicles. Balding caused by the DHT molecule cannot be stopped by a scalp or head massage but massaging the scalp will strengthen the hair follicles and can retard hair loss. Massaging the scalp increases the blood circulation in the face and head; it will dilate the small arteries in your scalp thus increase blood flow to your hair follicle. This then prolong the growth cycle of your hair.
In all seriousness, we all should take social distancing to our advantage for now. We may not feel the symptoms and may feel healthy but health experts know that by doing so, we can save lives. So, the next time you have the urge to go out, please find a small corner for yourself and give yourself a good scalp massage or better yet, have a family bonding by doing scalp massages for each other.
Stay safe and Thank you for all the things that you do to help flatten the curve.
Siobhan Meehan. “The Science of Head Massage: Why It Feels Good”.
Femina. “The healing powers of a scalp massage”. (November.22.2018)
Marcy Lerner.”5 Remarkable Benefits of Scalp Massage” (March 2. 2017)