Indian head massage

Written by Katherine Nicholls
Katherine Nicholls
Therapy Directory Content Team

Last updated 3rd January 2023 | Next update due 2nd January 2026

Indian head massage is a technique that originates from India where acupressure points across your head, neck and shoulders are massaged. Here we’ll learn more about this type of massage, how it can benefit you and what to expect from an Indian head massage.

What is an Indian head massage?

Also known as Champissage, an Indian head massage is a specific type of massage that focuses on the head, neck and shoulders. As its name suggests, the technique originates from India and is based on an alternative medicine system called Ayurveda

Ayurveda works off the philosophy that the universe is made up of five elements; earth, air, fire and water. In the body, it’s believed that these elements manifest as ‘doshas’. The aim of Ayurveda is to bring balance to these elements, uniting both body and mind. 

Indian head massage is therefore thought to have both physical and mental benefits, helping to improve all-round well-being. The technique involves deep strokes, neck stretching and circular movements along acupressure points. Working on these points is thought to help ease pain, promote balance and improve the flow of energy within the body. 

The massage can be done with or without oil, depending on your preference. If you have oil, typically this will be sesame, coconut, almond or olive, which helps to condition the scalp and hair. Some practitioners will also include different herbs, depending on your needs. 

In India, this type of massage has been used for thousands of years and remains common during hairdresser/barber appointments and can even be integrated into special rituals like weddings and births. Because it can be done while wearing clothes and without oils, the technique is portable and accessible, which is perhaps why it’s become so popular across the globe. 

What does an Indian head massage do?

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from an Indian head massage.

Promotes healthy hair

As your head is a key focus in this massage, your scalp will get a lot of attention. This encourages good blood circulation which supports healthy hair growth. If your massage therapist is using oils, these may be chosen to enhance this work, leaving your hair feeling soft and nourished. 

Prevents headaches 

A lot of headaches are caused by muscle tension in the scalp, neck and shoulders. Indian head massage can help by relieving this tension and promoting relaxation. Those who have stress headaches could benefit from regular head massages as a preventative measure. 

Reduces muscle pain and tension

Any pain or tension you’re holding in your neck, shoulder or head can be eased with this approach. Many of us experience shoulder and neck pain, especially if we’re working at a desk. Regular stretching and movement can help with this, but regular massage can be a great way of easing any tension build-up.

Supports mental well-being

Taking the time to prioritise self-care and enjoy some rest and relaxation can have a powerful effect on our mental health. According to Ayurveda, mental and physical health are intrinsically linked, making Indian head massage a truly holistic treatment. 

Encourages restful sleep

By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, Indian head massage can help us sleep more soundly. As it works on our body’s acupressure points, it’s also thought to help improve our energy levels and even reduce fatigue. 

Eases sinus congestion

There are certain pressure points that can be worked on during Indian head massage to help relieve blocked sinuses. 

Helps eye strain

Similarly, certain points on the forehead and around the eyes can be targeted to help those with eye strain. 

How often should you get an Indian head massage?

This will depend on your personal circumstances. If you are struggling a lot with tension headaches and/or neck/shoulder pain, you may be recommended to have Indian head massages more regularly, for example, once a week for a certain number of weeks. Otherwise, you may like to book in every two to four weeks as a preventative. 

What should I expect from an Indian head massage?

An Indian head massage may be as short as 10-20 minutes, especially if the massage is mobile (for example, at work or in a shopping centre), or it can be up to 45-60 minutes in a spa/clinic/at-home environment.

You’ll have the chance to chat with your therapist before the massage, use this time to share what you’re hoping for from the massage and if you have any medical conditions and anything else they should be aware of (for example, if you’re pregnant or have any injuries). This means the therapist can tailor the treatment to your specific needs. 

The massage will typically start at your shoulders, working up to the neck and finally the head. Oil may or may not be used, depending on what you and your massage therapist have agreed. The massage itself can be quite firm in places, but it shouldn’t feel painful and you can ask your therapist to adjust the pressure at any point.

What do you wear for an Indian head massage?

When you attend your Indian head massage appointment, try to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. Remember that the massage will involve your neck and shoulders, so it’s helpful if this area is easy to access for your therapist. Make sure your hair is loose (i.e. not in a complicated up-do!) so your masseuse can work freely here.

If your massage is going to involve oils, keep this in mind as your hair may look a little dishevelled after the process.

After the massage, you should feel incredibly relaxed and light. Try to drink plenty of water after and, if possible, enjoy a relaxing afternoon/evening to really soak up the benefits. 

If you’re ready to give this approach a try, you can use our search tool to find the right massage therapist for you

Disclaimer: At Therapy Directory we verify that massage practitioners have qualifications and insurance, or membership of a professional body, associated with massage only. We encourage you to check they have the specialised skills required to offer Indian head massage specifically.

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