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The Effects and Disadvantages of Indian Head Massage


Lead Academy

8 Mins Read

We all are more or less familiar with the positive effects of the Indian head massage on our body and mind. This traditional form of head massage is not a mere ‘head’ massage; it has physical and psychological benefits.

However, just like every coin has two sides, the Indian head massage has some negative effects as well. Though very few among many experience the negative effects, everyone interested in taking this massage therapy should be aware of the disadvantages. If you want to know about the effects of Indian Head Massage in detail, give a read to this blog.

What is an Indian Head Massage?

The Indian Head Massage is a relaxing holistic treatment that focuses on massaging acupressure points on the head, neck, and shoulders, with the aim of rebalancing your body’s energies. The treatment is  based on the ayurvedic system of healing.

The Indian head massage is considered a method of cleansing and healing. The massage technique uses controlled movements and has a strong effect on the three higher chakras – the mind, body, and spirit.

indian head massage

The Origin of Indian Head Massage

The Indian head massage or ‘champissage’ has been in practice for more than a thousand years now. It started as a ritual in India where women would massage the scalp and head of their family members.

Indian head massage was first documented in the texts of Ayurveda around 600 BC. The text proposed that each individual is made up of five elements—earth, air, fire, water and ether along with the three life-giving forces which are vata, pitta and kapha. According to the ayurvedic teachings, being healthy means to have your forces in harmony and massage helps to achieve that goal.

It was introduced in western culture by Narendra Mehta during 1970’s. When Mehta came to Britain to study, he was disappointed when massages he had did not include the head. He then introduced Champissage in the London Olympia which became popular on the very first day.

The Purpose of the Massage

The primary aim of the Indian head massage is to promote good health and well-being. This may happen by targeting the causes of particular symptoms, such as neck pain, back pain, stress, and anxiety. The massage can also boost the feelings of happiness and relaxation.

How is an Indian Head Massage Performed?

During the massage therapy, the atmosphere should be calm and relaxing. There can be soft music to create a soothing environment. The client can remain fully clothed but it is recommended to wear loose outfits for the convenience of the massage.

The hands of the therapist should be warm and smooth prior to the massage. Also, the therapist should not wear any watch or jewellery, to facilitate the client’s relaxation.

The Indian head massage includes various techniques like friction, tapping, stretching, rotation and so on. A therapist would start the massage with some deep breaths to get you grounded.

Next, the therapist goes with the shoulders and upper back, then gradually moves onto the arms and finally the head, scalp and face. During the massage, your therapist might:

  • Knead and probe the neck and shoulder areas.
  • Massage the scalp using squeezing, tapping, or rubbing motions.
  • Use facial pressure points to relieve sinus pressure.
  • Press and tug on the ears.

Do you use Oils for Indian Head Massage?

The use of oils is optional during the Indian head massage. Oils are often selected depending upon their therapeutic value and healing qualities as per the tradition.

In the traditional Indian head massage, oil has a medicinal purpose; different oils are used for different constitutions, genders and personality types. The most commonly used oils are sesame, coconut, olive and mustard oil.

Do you need any Massage Tools for the Indian Head Massage?

No, the Indian head massage does not require any massage tool since it is typically done with hands. Some might use a tingle massager but that is also optional.

Can Indian Head Massage Cause Headaches?

A woman holding a mug experiencing headache in the morning

The massage is mostly known for its ability to reduce headache since it relieves neck and scalp tension and promotes relaxation. However, some might experience headaches during or after a massage if the therapist applies too much pressure.

Due to the pressure applied, it can cause sore muscles, muscle bruising, and increased blood circulation, which may trigger a headache.

What are the Benefits of Indian Head Massage?

The Indian Head massage can provide you with some amazing physical and psychological benefits. Have a look at those-

Physical Benefits

Relieves insomnia

Chronic stress can be the reason for insomnia and poor sleep quality. Indian head massage helps to relieve stress and tension within the body by promoting relaxation which in turn allows you to sleep better.

Reduces sinusitis

Working on the cheekbone pressure points during the massage can be useful to relieve blocked sinuses.

Aids in the relief of migraines

Headaches and migraines are often caused due to tension in the mid back, neck and head. Indian head massage focuses on applying pressure to the mid back, arms and shoulders to reduce tension in the muscles. Also, massage around the neck and head encourages circulation of cerebral fluid and reduces headache causing blockages.

Stimulates lymphatic drainage

The lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste products from the tissues and Indian head massage aids in this process by stimulating lymphatic drainage and blood flow from our neck. Improved lymph drainage allows the naturally produced toxic waste to be excreted from our body.

Promotes Hair Growth

Massage to the scalp and head increases nourishment and supply of oxygen to the hair follicles which in turn stimulates hair growth.

Psychological Benefits

Relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression

Massaging the head stimulates the supply of oxygen to the brain. This is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety levels and improve your mood.

Improves memory capabilities

Often our brain is overloaded with disorganised thoughts, making it very difficult for us to recall memories and occurrences. The Indian head massage can slow you down, make you feel detached and serene by relieving your stress and  tension, leaving you all calm and relaxed.

What are the Effects and Disadvantages of Indian Head Massage?

Though mostly known for its benefits, there are some negative effects of Indian head massage as well.

Persistent Migraines or Headaches

If you don’t usually have migraines but after the therapy you do experience them, you might be having a bad reaction due to the therapy.

Also, if your hydration level is low and combined with massage, this can cause a headache. Having your muscles manipulated and pressed on deeply can amplify this.

Severe Muscle Pain

A little pain in the muscles after the massage is normal. But, if you have a severe pain then it might be due to some tissue damage as a consequence of the massage.

To recover, you will need to rest the muscles and possibly take some anti-inflammatories and use some muscle rub.


A woman facing dizziness

Dizziness after the Indian head massage could mean a problem with your blood pressure. The head massage stimulates blood flow and can be responsible for raising or lowering blood pressure.


A woman showing red rashes on her arm

It is possible you are sensitive or allergic to any ingredient of the massage oil. If so, using oil during your massage might cause irritation.

Urinating More

Clients may experience an increased urge to urinate more due to the elimination of body toxins and waste materials.

Who should not have an Indian Head Massage?

There are certain medical conditions for which the massage should not be performed on clients. It should be avoided by someone who has-

High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, it is strongly advised not to have the Indian head massage because the treatment increases blood flow and can cause blood pressure to rise.


There is a risk of having a seizure while being massaged if the client is diagnosed with epilepsy.


One of the side effects of the massage is lowering a person’s blood sugar. Depending on the type and severity of the diabetes, this can cause problems.


Blood clots or thrombosis in veins means a massage can potentially be dangerous. Since massage loosen blood clots, the clot might migrate to the brain, lungs or heart. If you are aware of any blood clots, consult your doctor before the massage therapy.


Though massage is good at relieving some of the discomfort caused by cancer, it should only be given by someone trained to work with cancer patients. The patient should obtain a release form from his/her doctor to get treatment.

Cuts and Sores

If you have any cuts, sores or wounds, you should avoid having the massage as it’s not safe when a therapist uses his hands and rubs those areas. It can cause an infection.


Unless a therapist is trained in prenatal massage, pregnant women should not have massage treatment. It is especially risky in the first 3 months of the pregnancy.


The Indian head massage has some significant effects on your body and mind. Whether the massage would benefit you or not would also depend on the therapist. If you have experienced some negative outcomes due to the message, make sure you choose the right therapist next time.

Also, be aware of your health condition before taking the therapy. Consult both of your doctor and therapist prior to the massage if necessary.

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