Health - Cut back your losses
by Mamta Singh
In the last issue, we took a detailed look at the role of nutrition in managing, controlling and eventually stalling hair fall. In this concluding article, we look at other options available to keep a tight leash on hair fall.
Several techniques like aromatherapy, massage, yoga, ayurveda, homoeopathy, alternative medicines and reflexology could be used to arrest hair fall. Pick the one best suited to you depending on your time, convenience and availability of ingredients.
Aromatherapy, as we already know, is one of the most effective treatment options in complementary alternative medicines (CAM). Essential oils are basic material used in aromatherapy and the medium through which treatment is given. Essential oils can be inhaled, or used as blend in baths or as massage oil. They are highly aromatic substances made from plants in special cells and have therapeutic properties. Head, neck, face and shoulder massage with essential oils benefits hair fall.
Essential oils need to be blended with carrier oils to dilute them for application purposes. To make a blend, use two drops of each top note oil, middle note oil and base note oil in the carrier oil for massage.
Alopecia (or hair fall in tufts from certain areas of the scalp) can be controlled by using either of the two blends mentioned below:
Two drops each of sage oil, lavender oil and cedar wood oil in two ounces (approximately 60 ml) of jojoba oil.
Two drops each of thyme, rosemary and cedar wood oil in two ounces (approximately 60 ml) of grape seed oil.
A word of caution – do not use if you are pregnant as sage oil may cause bleeding. Also, avoid driving after using the oil as it may induce sleep. Sage is a sedative and calms the nerves and senses.
Similarly, thyme oil is very potent with oxytocin-effect. It should not be used during pregnancy or by those who have high blood pressure. Bay is used as a substitute for thyme oil if you do not have high BP. Sage and thyme oils can be replaced by lemon oil, ylang yang oil or even Roman chamomile oil. Oils of arnica, lavender, and calamus stimulate healthy hair growth.
How to use:
Massage the prepared blend thoroughly into the scalp, using your fingertips in a circular motion. Massaging should last 10 minutes.
Allow the scalp to soak up the oil for another 15 minutes. Now, wrap your head in a clear plastic wrap. You can cover this with a warm towel and leave it on for a few hours or even overnight. Shampoo the next morning using a mild shampoo.
Head massage improves blood circulation in the arterial capillaries of the scalp, which nourishes your hair follicles. Many times the capillaries are weak or have inadequacies that constrict the flow of blood that carries nutrients to the hair. Have the head massage done by a certified / licensed or a professional masseur or holistic health therapist for the first few times. You can do it at home after you have learnt the correct techniques. A single head massage session can last up to 15 minutes.
Start with the front of your head and move on to the back using just the fingertips. Use small circular movements and slight pressure. Start from the bridge of the neck moving along in a straight line over the scalp and down to the nape of your neck.
Next, massage your bladder meridian from the inner corner of the eye to the crown of your head.
Again, using slight pressure in a circular motion massage on the gall bladder meridian – outer corner of the eye, crossing the temple, making a loop over the ears, curving to the crown of the head.
Massage three to four times for each meridian moving from the front of your head to the back of the skull.
Nails are the reflexes for the hair and scalp. Five minutes chaffing of the fingernails of one hand against the other daily may help hair and scalp problems.
For hair loss caused by stress, work the diaphragm and adrenal reflexes. The diaphragm reflex is located in the shape of an invisible arch at the bottom of the top third of your foot and the adrenal reflex is located in the middle of the foot towards the arch side. Pressing of both the reflexes should be done with the tip of your thumb. You may use the thumb technique or the hook technique.
In either case, you must begin with a general massage of your foot first involving ankle and toe rotation and a thumb crawl along the spinal reflex along the inner arch of the foot You must also address both the feet.
Yoga and exercises
Yoga believes that certain asanas such as the downward-facing dog, the cobra pose, the standing forward bend and the cow pose and many others such as headstand improve blood circulation of the scalp and promote hair health. Here are two easy asanas. However, do not attempt the headstand in the absence of a certified yoga instructor.
Downward facing dog pose (Adho mukha svasana)
Lie on the mat on an even floor.
Get on to your hands and knees with your hands and knees shoulder and hip width apart respectively. Your palms should be directly under your shoulders.
Now, curl the toes and push back to lift your hips while straightening out your legs.
The top of your head will be facing down in this position. Do not try to make it touch the ground if it is uncomfortable. The position near your flattened-out downward-facing palms or slightly above is also acceptable.
Sink your heels to the ground. Your weight should be supported by your quadriceps (thighs) and not your arms at this point.
Straighten and fully extend your back by taking in your navel.
Hold this position for 7-10 seconds or till the time you are comfortable.
Release the mudra by straightening your back to the erect position and collecting your hands and legs. Execute three times.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana) Lie on the mat on an even floor.
Keep the face down on it with legs extended out at the back together.
The toes should also be together and pointing outwards to the back.
The hands should be placed by the side of the body with elbows close to the body and not splayed out.
The palms should be facing down and on the floor by the side of the shoulder.
The chin should be touching the floor and you should be looking straight ahead.
Gradually raise your head and upper torso to pull it up and back as much as is comfortably possible with your navel still in full contact with the floor.
Hold this position for 10 seconds or till you are comfortable.
Let go gradually returning to the original position.
You may perform the Bhujangasana three to six times. Mamta is a certified fitness instructor, personal trainer and sports nutritionist from IFA, Florida USA. She is also an NCFE-certified Holistic Health Therapist from SAC U.K., and writes for popular fitness sites. She also has her own blog on holistic health for women.
See more articles on Health at: http://www.lifepositive.com/articles/Health
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