The Origin of Indian Head Massage

Indian Head Massage has been practised for over 5000 years in India. It was given the name ‘Champissage’ or ‘Champi’, which is where we get our modern term ‘Shampoo’ from. The technique was used not only for hygiene but for health, also. The head was massaged with oils to rid the scalp of dead skin cells and to moisturise the head and hair making it shiny and healthy. Champissage was normally practised by women massaging their children and other women in their family. The technique was passed down from mother to daughter for generations and it was believed by many to have enormous health benefits.

The reason for this being because the massage worked on the higher energy centres or ‘chakras’. It is believed that there are seven main chakras (there are many minor chakras, also). The main chakras pertain to our own endocrine system explained in Western medicine; this is the system that governs the secretion of hormones within our body.

In Indian society, however, the chakras are more than just related to the mechanical aspects of the body, they also relate to the emotional and spiritual aspects being intricately linked to our aura or energy field. Chakras are, in effect, energy wheels; vortexes of energy which link our energy field to our physical body. When the chakras are blocked, illness is the result. However, the illness may not manifest itself in the physical body for some time; in fact the manifestation may appear emotionally as a disturbance in behaviour or feeling, well before any physical aspects show. To further complicate the issue, disturbed emotions of the mind can cause blockages in the chakras, causing illness also. It’s a bit like ‘the chicken and the egg’ riddle where the answer is that our body is so connected to the spirit and mind that not one thing can be put down as the ‘cause’, only that we should aim to prevent any illness developing.

This is why Indian Head Massage is of such enormous benefit. Firstly, it relaxes the mind – when the mind is still the body can go about healing itself as there is no hindrance. Secondly, the massage works on the upper chakras – the crown, the brow and the throat chakra (sometimes the heart chakra also) which helps clear the blockages in these areas further increasing energy flow and allowing the body to heal.

But why only work on the upper chakras? What about blockages in the lower chakras?

The chakras actually work from top to bottom, this is why with Reiki, the treatment is started from the head; if the top chakras are cleared first it eventually filters down to the lower chakras unblocking them too. In effect, a daily head massage would improve the condition of ones health.

How did Indian Head Massage become popular in Britain?

As I have previously said, Champissage was practised mainly by women – but it was soon taken up by men too. Men would have there Champissage as part of a hair cut at the local barbers; however, it was different from the Champissage the women used. It was more aggressive, invigorating and it involved some manipulation of the neck. A man by the name of Narendra Mehta was responsible for our introduction to Indian Head Massage. In the 1970’s he came to England to study and was surprised when the Champissage was left out of his visit to the barbers. He grew to miss it greatly, and went to a massage therapist who performed a full body massage, only to leave out the head. He was quite disappointed. So much so, in fact, that in 1978 he returned to India to study Champissage. He travelled all over India to study the different techniques as they varied from place to place, barber to barber and from family to family. With all that he learnt he put together his own massage and brought it to England. It is less aggressive than the Champissage the barbers performed but it incorporates some vigorous movements and with a good therapist you can get either a relaxing or invigorating massage. Although it may not be the traditional Champissage, it is a variation of techniques from all over India. This is what we call Indian Head Massage.

About the author:

Article written by Sandra Howe MSFTR, SAC Dip.(IHM), SNHS Dip.(reflex), Reiki Master Practitioner.


Author: Sandra Howe MSFTR, SAC Dip.(IHM), SNHS Dip.(reflex), Reiki Master Practitioner.
Copyright © 2023 Sandra Howe MSFTR, SAC Dip.(IHM), SNHS Dip.(reflex), Reiki Master Practitioner.. All rights reserved

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