THE ART OF INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE
Namaste & Sat Nam!
I remember when I was a little girl of about three years old when my grandmother used to make an exotic blend of Ayurvedic oil potions (mmm… the smell was magical) and massage it into my body and head before my bath. I remember feeling so safe, nurtured, and protected by my grandmother’s healing touch and the therapeutic properties of this unique blend of oil. This was such a vivid memory that for some reason it has stuck not only in my psyche, but in my everyday life and I always knew that I would represent it in my holistic practise one day. Unfortunately, my grandmother is no longer with us but she is always around me spiritually and her legacy continues true in my heart. Therefore I decided that others should experience the sheer delight of unconditional love through the art of Indian head massage.
In 2010 on my travels backpacking throughout India to connect more to my Indian ancestry, I thought I would find out more about this ancient art of Ayurveda and learn the techniques of Indian head massage. I started at an Ayurvedic school in Trivandrum, Kerala, and met some incredible therapists who had the most gentle and peaceful ways of working with plant medicine. I began appreciating the gift that these plants present and learnt how they are harvested for use. The learning, observing, and absorbing were vital in order for me to connect to this practise and provide the background knowledge to others. After a thorough understanding of the methods, I decided that this was something that I had to bring back to Melbourne and offer as one of my holistic practises – both working with the oil and the therapeutic massage.
HISTORY OF INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE
Indian head massage has a long and colourful history. It is based on a traditional system of medicine known as Ayurveda, which has been practised in India for over 3000 years and is becoming increasingly popular in the West. The word “Ayurveda” comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, and means “science of life” or “knowledge of life.” Ayurveda is a complete healing system, possibly the oldest in the world, which teaches a truly holistic approach, concentrating on achieving a balance of mind, body, and spirit to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health and well-being.
HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND
Indian head massage for me is like health and beauty at my fingertips. With a few basic strokes, you can relax and soothe, or invigorate and stimulate. It is a wonderful way of pacifying a troubled child to sleep, refreshing a jaded computer/mobile/gadget user, or pampering your dear ones with some tender loving care.
This healing treatment not only works on the scalp, as the name suggests, but also on the face, shoulders, upper back, and arms. These are all areas where we tend to harbour a great deal of tension – arising perhaps from poor posture, spending long periods in front of a computer screen, or due to an accumulation of emotional stress. The various different movements of the massage can help to relax taut and uncomfortable muscles, ease stiffness, stimulate blood circulation, drain away excess toxins, healing to relive headaches and eye strain, and increase joint mobility. Indian head massage also encourages deeper breathing and helps boost the flow of freshly oxygenated blood to the brain, resulting in more focused thought, greater concentration, and better memory.
In the hurly-burly of everyday activities, we often deprive ourselves of the opportunity to be still and quiet, and to simply “be ourselves.” An Indian head massage can provide the incentive to switch off from any spiralling worries and hassles, and helps to centre you on the “here and now.” This healing allows time for a busy mind to rest and recuperate, and enables you to look at life from a new perspective.
Above all, the Indian head massage is an exquisitely enjoyable sensation that triggers the release in the body of the feel good chemicals called “‘endorphins,” creating an almost euphoric sensation of contentment and happiness. Much pleasure comes from the shared experience of an affectionate touch. Touch is a powerful and instinctive way of creating a bond that can communicate empathy far more effectively than words. Giving and receiving close, nurturing physical contact in a caring situation is one of our most basic human needs – and one that we tend to neglect, often without realising it.
You will find that the enjoyment of an Indian head massage can strengthen relationships, boost morale and make the world seem a far better place.
BENEFITS OF INDIAN HEAD MASSAGE
The therapeutic effects of Indian head massage last long after the treatment is over. The short and long term benefits are individual, varied, cumulative, and include the following:
- Relief from pain and stiffness in the muscles of the face, scapula, neck, upper back, and shoulders.
- Increased mobility of the joint in the neck and shoulder areas.
- Relief from tension headaches, eye strain, nasal congestion, jaw-ache, and hangovers.
- Increased energy levels.
- Alleviation of stress, anxiety, lethargy, and mild depression.
- Greater creativity, clarity of thought, and concentration.
- A sense of tranquillity, calmness, and positive well-being.
- More restful, refreshing sleep.
- Deeper, calmer breathing.
- Strengthened immune system.
- Improve skin condition and colour.
- Strong, healthy, shiny hair and scalp.
- Increased self esteem and self worth.
- Greater self awareness, which often brings the additional benefit of a change to a healthier lifestyle.
Register for a free one-hour workshop through our events page.
Workshop Time: September 25, one hour session that starts sharp at 6.30 pm
What to bring: Towel and a comfortable T-shirt or singlet.
NB: Please note that this is an interactive exercise, where candidates will pair up and practise the massage on each other. Therefore, you will be touching and massaging the shoulders, neck, face, and scalp of your partner. The Ayurvedic oil will be placed on the head for the scalp massage only; so please wear comfortable clothes and bring a towel. It is advisable to have oiled hair, as the organic oil will be better absorbed into the hair follicles, but this is not mandatory.
About Raspal Khumra
Raspal has been on a spiritual quest over the past 10 years. As a holistic counsellor and an Indian head masseuse, she has volunteered her skills both overseas and in Australia. Raspal is a qualified Indian head massage practitioner and has learned the art of Indian head massage from the best Ayurvedic therapists in Kerala, India, and has furthered her technique methods by a renowned Indian head massage teacher here in Australia.
Raspal is also a qualified Holistic counsellor obtaining her education at the Phoenix Institute. Raspal provides a healing place for people to feel comfortable to seek and speak their truth without the fear of judgement. She comes from a place of deep empathy and understanding. Raspal believes that compassion is the food that feeds the soul and that real forgiveness means redefining loyalties, strengthening vulnerabilities, and leaving behind pain that no longer serves you.
The approach she takes looks at using various tools of art therapy: dream work, ritual process, dance movement, cooking therapy, alongside with role playing.