The Indian head massage is part of the Ayurvedic medicinal system practised on the Indian subcontinent. Ayurveda, "the science of life," is a holistic system that strives for internal balance. The Indian head massage focuses on the upper body, chiefly the head, neck, shoulders, arms, upper back, face and ears. The technique is done fully clothed in an upright position using a variety of virgin vegetable and essential oils.
Sesame oil is one of the most common oils used in Indian head massage because of its mild odour. Mustard oil can be substituted, but is very pungent and sometimes offensive, potentially distracting the recipient from the benefits of massage. Sesame oil has been used since ancient times, proven by the mention of this oil in the Vedas, ancient Indian texts. Sesame oil is quick to absorb into the skin and hair and is currently being researched by various institutions, including the Maharishi International College in Iowa, for health benefits.
Coconut oil is a natural moisturiser, giving hair lustre and moisturising the scalp. Virgin coconut oil provides moisture for a longer period of time then other oils, providing benefits to those with exceptionally dry skin. Coconut oil is high in antioxidants, which are absorbed into the skin, fighting cancer-causing free radicals within the body. Additional benefits may include slowing the ageing process, improving skin elasticity and combating skin conditions like liver spots or eczema.
Olive oil is easily obtained, inexpensive and virtually odourless. Olive oil is used to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and ease the itching and pain associated with eczema or psoriasis.
Rosemary oil soothes the scalp while stimulating the hair follicles promoting hair growth. Rosemary is a natural anti-inflammatory and has a high content of vitamin E.
Lavender oil is used to relax and reduce stress. This calming essential oil promotes internal balance and stimulates the hair follicles. Lavender is a natural antibacterial, assisting in the treatment of wounds and acne and is valued for its pleasant odour.