The formulations, however, resembled nothing like the textures we find so familiar and its application was, rather intriguingly, always accompanied by an ancient Ayurvedic massage ritual.
Chāmpo [Sanskrit] ‘cleansing, soothing and massaging the head and hair’.
Massage has always played a meaningful role in Indian culture, with Ayurvedic records detailing the practice of chāmpo as far back as the seventh century. Aromatic and powerfully active spices, herbs, plant extracts and oils accompanied the technique which was, in addition to cleansing and enhancing the hair and skin, believed to amplify natural healing, relaxation and vitality.
Fast-forward 1,400 years later and our trichologist regularly extols the virtues of massage in the Hair Masterclass section of our Journal, noting its remarkable effect on the hair and scalp. Indeed, our founder experienced such transformational change from the oils and massage techniques her grandmother recommended for her thinning hair that it inspired our whole being.
Small-scale commitment, abundant rewards
Best enjoyed either before bed or pre-shower (with a little of your chosen Chāmpo conditioner), the benefits of this particular massage abound (technique detailed below). Be generous with your time… spend a good 20 minutes once a week and you’ll undoubtedly be revelling in the full effects in no time. When time is short, don’t skip – simply do what you can. Even 10 minutes will make a noticeable difference:
- Hair follicles will be stimulated, boosting blood flow and the circulation of oxygen and nutrients around the scalp, both of which promote healthy hair growth, shine, strength and fullness.
- The tone and health of the scalp is enhanced.
- Tension, headaches, anxiety and other stress-related issues – each of which is well known to affect healthy hair growth and condition – are improved.
- Calm, energy and optimism return, restlessness abates and sleep is improved.
- Immunity is boosted.
With all that in mind, perhaps it’s time for a chāmpo revival.
Mastering the method
Though this practice traditionally comprises the shoulders and neck, as well as the head, to make chāmpo possible to perform individually, we’ll focus solely on the scalp.
- Loosen your hair, if it is tied back. Bring your hands to the sides of the head, fingers pointing up and spread apart.
- Keeping both the heel of your hand and your fingers in contact with your head, apply light pressure and slowly move your hands up with small circular motions, as if applying shampoo.
- Once at the top of the head, allow your fingers to lift away – though still maintain contact through the heels of the hands. Now lower your hands and move them to a different area of the head. Repeat this until you’ve covered your entire scalp.
- Next, bring one hand to your forehead and place the heel of your other hand at the back of your head. Briskly rub your scalp all over with just your fingertips for about a minute, reaching as much of the scalp as you can with that hand. Switch hands and cover the remainder of your head.
- Stroke your fingers through your hair from the top of the forehead, working back.
- Lay your fingers over your forehead and draw the fingers down and along the brow line to each temple, making small circles over your temples. Repeat this process three times.
- Returning back to your forehead, work slowly towards the back of your head in smooth strokes for at least a minute, decreasing the pressure over time until your fingers simply drift off.
Belief in the myriad of benefits behind this noble practice stem from the simple fact that fingertip pressure on key acupressure points on your face and head help stimulate the flow of energy through the meridians in your body (vital energy channels controlling our gross and subtle anatomies). Only by allowing energy to freely flow can healing begin.
In summary, while contemporary formulas like ours take advantage of time-tested actives and the latest science to nurture hair back to health, millennia of use certainly speaks volumes of the power of massage… and Indian culture still religiously believes in this most venerable practice. We anticipate its comeback eagerly… do you?
Discover your hair Dosha and tailored Chāmpo care system by taking our two-minute Hair Quiz.
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