Indian Head Massage (Indian Champissage)


Indian Head Massage has been practised in India for over a thousand years as part of everyday family life as a form of grooming. Indian head massage was brought to the west by Narendra Mehta in the 1970?s and the therapy was extended to include the face, ears, neck, shoulders and upper arms.

Indian Head Massage works on areas affected by mental and emotional stress. In Western culture today we spend much of our time in our heads, so this treatment can really help to calm the mind and is surprisingly deeply relaxing. Working with a firm and gentle rhythm it helps to relieve muscular discomfort and tension as well as calming the spirit and aiding relaxation, it also improves circulation in the head, enhances the senses and promotes clear thinking.

What is involved or what happens in a session

The massage begins with the upper back, where a combination of deep massage and pressure points help to relax and release knots in the muscles. Moving through the shoulders and upper arms further releases the common spots for holding stress and tension, and then working deeply into the neck where tension accumulates relieves headaches and improves cerebral spinal fluid circulation. Moving up to the scalp, techniques are used that stimulate, relax and revive the whole of the head, increasing the circulation and creating Finally the treatment includes a gentle face massage with techniques that help circulation, skin tone, and sinus and headache problems.

Physical Benefits of Indian Head Massage

Significant improvement noticed with:

  • Migraine and headaches
  • Sinusitis
  • Stress related disorders
  • Insomnia and disturbed sleep
  • Suppleness and flexibility to head, neck and shoulders
  • Increase of oxygen and glucose supply to the brain
  • Scalp stimulation increasing blood circulation, promoting healthy hair
  • Increases cerebral spinal fluid circulation
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Mental Benefits

Indian Head Massage promotes:

  • A sense of calmness, peace and tranquillity
  • Release from anxiety, stress and mental stain
  • Relief from depression
  • High levels of concentration
  • Clearer thinking and focus
  • Relaxation
  • Sound sleep and relief from nightmares
  • Renewed energy
  • Aids memory
  • Chakra balancing and energetic healing
  • History & Origins Of Indian Head Massage

Massage has always played an important part in Indian life. It features in the earliest Ayurvedic texts, which date back nearly 4000 years. These ancient texts describe that, when used in conjunction with herbs, spices and aromatic oils, massage had an important medical function and could not only “strengthen muscles and firm skin”, but also encourage the body’s innate healing energy.

Head massage has been practised for over a thousand years. The concept was originally developed by women who used different oils according to the season (coconut, sesame, almond, olive oil, herbal oils, buttermilk, mustard oil and henna) and individual needs to keep their long hair strong, lustrous and in beautiful condition.

Barbers practised many of the same skills with their male clients, however treatments offered by barbers differed from the massages performed by women. A champi was an invigorating scalp massage designed to stimulate and refresh the individual and was not considered part of a beauty regime. The word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindi word ‘champi,’ meaning ‘massage of the head.’ Regular head massage, as practised by woman to beautify their hair, was soothing and relaxing. They would use natural oils to keep their long hair strong and healthy.

The barbers’ skills evolved through the ages. They were handed down from father to son in much the same way that women kept alive the tradition of hair massage and grooming by passing the techniques from mother to daughter.

Like most of his compatriots, Narendra Mehta had grown up with head massage as an integral part of his daily life. It was something to be automatically experienced every time he visited a barber.

However, when Narendra came to England in the 1973 to train as a Physical Therapist, he was dismayed to find that head massage was not generally available. He was also disappointed to discover that the head seemed to be completely neglected even in a full body massage.

Narendra began to miss the therapeutic value of regular head massage. In 1978, he decided to return to India to research the ancient art of head massage. He studied it wherever it was practised: in barber’s shops, on street corners, at the beach and in family homes. He enjoyed being worked on but he couldn’t help feeling that there was something missing.

Although he experienced a slight improvement in well being, the effects were too short lived to be of any therapeutic benefit. Barbers focused on the scalp and women focused on the hair. In addition, everyone who worked with Narendra had his or her own individual technique, which had been handed down and developed through the generations. He decided that he would begin to formalise what he was experiencing and apply his heightened sensitivity as a blind person to discover which part of his body reacted most positively to specific moves.

Soon he arrived at two conclusions:

1. The therapy could benefit by being extended to include the face, neck, upper arms and shoulders, areas that accumulate high levels of stress and tension.

2. By introducing an Ayurvedic element into the massage to include work on the three higher Chakras (energy vortices) ­ Visuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara ­ the body’s entire energy system could be rebalanced.

When these two elements were added to traditional head massage, Narendra found he had a holistic therapy, which could be used effectively to treat the whole person. Experience had shown him that working on the head brings tremendous relaxation and relief from stress-related symptoms. In addition, he knew that head massage with oil serves as an excellent hair conditioner. Thus, Indian Champissage™ was developed from an ancient practice to become an excellent contemporary therapy.