Call for bookings : 587.888.5000

Indian Head Massage

A look back into time
Indian head massage is said to have originated over four thousand years ago. Originally this massage had been used as a grooming technique used by women to strengthen and provide fullness to their hair. The stimulation of pressure points on the scalp was the procedure used in order to get lustrous hair.

Leaping forward in time
Indian head massage is now listed as an alternative therapy as part of Ayurveda. This therapies belief system is based upon the body containing energy channels which under certain conditions such as stress can become blocked. The goal of this therapy type is to unblock the channels so energy may once again flow free. If blocked energy remains it can produce many type of conditions such as headache, migraine, fatigue, neck pain, insomnia and sinus problems.

Today it is thought of providing some limited benefits as relieving stress and tension in the neck along with other muscles in the body while improving the blood flow to these areas. Just by that benefit alone it can be effective in easing headaches and migraines, neck pain and stress. Let us not forget it is still promoted for stimulating the hair.

Of course with every treatment out there from chiropractic to acupuncture to massage therapy and crystal healing, science has the last word for effectiveness. There has been studies on done on this type of massage therapy and what science so far has noted.

Alcohol Withdraw Syndrome
Research conducted by the staff of Royal Brisbane Hospital Alcohol and Drug Services, Queensland University of Technology School of Psychology and Counseling, and the University of Queensland, Australia. The study consisted of 50 participants divided into two groups. Group A the massage group and Group B the control group. All of the participants were admitted to an alcohol and drug detoxification unit.
Average age of group was 4.8 years old.

Group A(massage) had received fifteen minutes of shoulder, neck and head massage, each day for four days straight. The control group had simply rested during that time. Patients received discharge after their four days.
Outcome tests were done on pulse and respiration rate, Alcohol Withdrawal Scale sores, and responses from a questionnaire to participants assessing the treatment process. Results had shown that as the treatment progressed both groups showed reduced scores on the Alcohol Withdrawal Scale. However, the reduction was significantly more in the massage group. Pulse rate reduction was once again significantly greater in comparison to the control group and respiratory function showed the same results with massage group have better rates of reduction.

Researchers noted the biggest impact was on the day to day massage on the Scale scores and pulse rates. In the questionnaire portion, 86% in the massage group had enjoyed their meals more and 100% in the massage group reported feeling safe. The researchers concluded that the experience of patients of those having massage had felt more of being part of the treatment. The qualitative data had shown that the majority of participants in massage felt supported, safe and had improved appetites.

Final conclusion was that this type of massage “Indian Head” may just have a place in alcohol detoxification process.

HIV Positive Children
The University of Miami School of Medicine, Division of Disease Prevention, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Department of Medicine, and Touch Research Institutes; and staff at Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, had conducted the study.

Fifty-four children who were HIV positive, without antiretroviral medication from Robert Reid Cabral Children’s Hospital participated in this study. At random children were assigned to massage group or friendly visit group.

The massage group received two sessions at twenty minutes a week for three months. The friendly visit control group receive two sessions at twenty minutes a week for three months, of friendly visits. Friendly visits were activities such as reading, talking or playing games quietly. Massage session had consisted of moderate pressure, stroking and kneading. This was done by trained nurses and unscented oils were used.

Outcome tests consisted of absolute helper (CD4/T4) and suppressor (CD8/T8) cell counts, which are the markers for progression of the disease. At the end of the three months, blood was drawn at baseline to assess lymphocyte levels. Lymphocytes are the main ways of giving the body immune capability. At the end of the study, information was available on for 24 out of the 54 participants. The results had shown that the mean CD4 cell count had increased in the massage group but not for control group. CD4 cell count increased immensely from the beginning to the ending of the study in massage group as opposed to control group.

Being at risk for 20% or greater decline in CD4 cell count throughout the entire study was greatly higher in the children of the control group in comparison to the massage group. Fifty percent or more CD8 lymphocytes were lost in 57% of the control group opposed to massage group who had lost fifty percent or more was only in 10% of the children. Studies conclusion indicated that this massage therapy seems to provide a positive effect on immune function in HIV Positive children who do not take antiretroviral medications or who display no benefit from antiretroviral treatments.

Long Term Pain
Study was conducted by the staff of Uppsala University Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. In this study 117 participants were used with long term, diffuse (spread out) musculoskeletal pain. Each participant had pain which endured for at least three months and was not caused by a specific disease or condition.

Participants were assigned randomly to either massage or relaxation group. The massage group had received between six to ten massages in duration of thirty minutes each. Massages were once to three times a week. Participants averaged seven massages each. The sessions were adjusted to the participants individual pain thresholds.

The relaxation group had listened to relaxation tapes, twice a week for five weeks. Tape instructions included to tense and relax the muscle groups and breathe slowly and regularly. Before the study questionnaire were given out to participants. The questions regarded their age, gender, smoking habits, material status and profession. Also given along with it was a self rated health questionnaire with rating scales for mental energy and muscle pain.

Results had shown that in the massage group, that during treatment there was remarked improvement in self rated health, mental energy and muscle pain as compared to the control group. The studies researchers noted that in the massage group all outcomes were more effective, even after controlling other likely factors.

At a three month follow up evaluation the improved scores all returned back to where they were before massage treatment had began. Final conclusion is the lack of long term benefits could have been caused by short treatment period or the massage did not address the main cause of pain. Further studies are needed with longer treatment periods and post follow ups.

Quick facts

  • Indian Head Massage is also referred to as Champissage.
  • There are slightly different treatments under Indian Head Massage.
  • The most common Indian Head Massage is head massage combine with shoulders and back. The use of oil is not needed but is suggested.

Oils Used

  • Almond: due to its beneficial properties which include reduction of pain, aches and stiffness.
  • Coconut: moisturizes the skin and encourages hair growth. It also balances the body.
  • Mustard: is much like almond and it reduces swelling and purifies the blood by opening the pores.
  • Olive: alike mustard minus the pungent smell.
  • Sesame: most commonly used one. It relieves aches, pains, stiffness benefits hair growth and for a bonus reduces graying while giving hair a shine.


  • Sports Injury Clinic
  • Soothes
  • Headache and Migraine News
  • Mystic Mouse