Ahhh, ohhh, yes! These are just a few words (and sounds) that I hear when I’m massaging a client’s head during their shampoo. It always makes me giggle when I hear someone make sound effects during the shampoo, however the moaning can be a tad bit creepy. Clients tell me all the time that the best part of getting their haircut is getting their hair washed. Why is it that? Besides the obvious reason of it feeling amazing, why is head massaging an important aspect of getting haircut? Also, why do hairdressers massage scalps?
All over the world you can see massages performed alongside salon services. It maybe a rather stimulated scalp and face massage involving vigorous motions and perhaps slapping of the face as seen in India; or a scalp massage performed by a machine with 24 fingers found in China and Japan. Regardless of how, who, or what is giving the service it is seen all over the world.
The origin of head massages date back over 2,000 years ago in India. Indian head massages are known as “Champi” in Hindi and Urdu. The process of head massage is based on the principles of Ayurveda; its goal is to align the flow of energy or chakras in the body. The term “Ayurveda” comes from the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge). Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world. Ayurvedic practices predate written texts and were handed down by word of mouth.
The benefits of Champi include, release of tension to prevent or alleviate headaches, backaches, and migraines, help promote hair growth, boost memory, and help with insomnia. Champi also puts the client in a relaxed, calm state, once the massage is complete there is usually a feeling of rejuvenation. Curtain essential oils can be used to help induce the feelings of calm relaxation. Champi became popular in England in the late 1970’s when a blind physical therapist by the name of Narendra Mehta brought these techniques over from India. Champi was very popular in the community he grew up in, he studied at barbershops on street corners in India.
As a student in cosmetology school there was no formal training on Champi nor mention of it, however as a student we were taught on certain techniques when giving a scalp massage. We were taught how it benefits our hair and skin. Over the years I have adapted my own technique and system, but I would like to find out how it became mainstream in salons. In India it has been custom to give Champi in barbershops for many years,.
During my research I couldn’t pinpoint when hairstylists started performing head massaging in salons in the United States, however I have not given up! I will continue to try and find an answer and update this post as needed. I'm also curious on how many hairdressers know the origin of head massaging. These are the questions that keep me up at night.
To piggy back off last weeks post; hairstylists everywhere do more than just ‘make people pretty’ we have to opportunity to create a sense of wellbeing in the body and mind for our clients. Next time you visit your local salon/barbershop just sit back, relax, and enjoy the amazing benefits of a relaxing shampoo and Champi. If you’d like to learn more about Champi and other Ayurvedic practices check the references below and see the videos below on shampooing around the world.
Ayurvedic India. (2017, May 20). Indian Head Massage Benefits - Techniques and History. Retrieved February 10, 2018, from http://www.ayurvedicindia.info/indian-head-massage/
U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services. (2016, April 07). Ayurvedic Medicine: In Depth. Retrieved February 10, 2018, from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/ayurveda/introduction.htm#hed3
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HAIR
The Geography of Hair is devoted to share experiences and stories in cosmetology and how it has affected people, myself, or us as a society.