Hair and Scalp Care Therapy
Hair and scalp care therapy in Ayurveda
A certain amount of hair loss is considered normal, as old strands are replaced by new. When hair loss is excessive however, it is a symptom of imbalance. In the west this condition is called alopecia, and in Ayurveda, it called khalitya.
Ayurveda views hair as a by-product of bone tissue formation. The tissues that are responsible for the formation of bones, are also responsible for hair growth. Hair problems are associated with deficiency of bone tissue; therefore the remedies are targeted at strengthening bone tissue.
Causes of hair loss
Hair loss is a state of pitta aggravation in the body. Excess pitta in the sebaceous gland, at the root of the hair follicle, or folliculitis (infection of the hair follicle) can lead to hair loss. People who have excess pitta in their body are likely to lose their hair early in life, or have prematurely thin or gray hair.
Factors that can exacerbate hair loss
Poor diet and food combinations leading to poor digestion
Pitta aggravating foods including fried, sour, spicy, salty, and fermented foods
Excessive use of stimulants such as tea, coffee, smoking, alcohol and meat
Excessive anger, stress and anxiety
Restlessness, lack of sleep
Weak immune system
Certain medications such as anabolic steroids, oral contraceptive pills, progesterone, chemotherapy, thyroid hormones etc.
Ayurvedic management of hair loss
Ayurvedic management of hair loss aims to pacify pitta through a customised diet and lifestyle regime, along with herbal medication. A combination of diet, herbs, oil massage, meditation, aromatherapy, breathing and yoga can be beneficial in addressing the problem of hair loss.
Ayurvedic tips for healthy hair
Cut down intake of spicy, acidic, fried and refined foods, and alcoholic beverages and stimulants.
Drink one-third cup of aloe vera juice every day.
Consume food rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Carrot, spinach, and lettuce are good sources.
A spoonful of sesame seed powder or oil every morning supports healthy hair.
Probiotic foods like yoghurt can help reduce hair loss.
Drink plenty of water every day to flush toxins from your body and balance the pitta dosha.
Ayurvedic therapies for hair loss-
Regular massage of your scalp with medicated oil such as Bhringaraja oil or coconut oil can help prevent hair loss and restore healthy hair growth. Head and scalp massage helps to improve the blood circulation to the scalp and reduce stress, both of which support the outcome of improved hair growth.
Head massage is available as a treatment, but it can also be taught to you to perform at home. An ayurvedic specialist can prescribe the right oil for you after they assess your body-mind constitution and your specific condition.
Sirolepa is a therapeutic treatment that involves applying a herbal pack to the scalp for a certain period of time. An ayurvedic doctor chooses the best combination of herbs for your condition. Some of the common herbs used are Amla (Emblica officinalis), Brahmi (Bacopa Monnerie), Shikakai (Acacia Concinna), and Bhringaraja (Eclipta Alba).
Shirobasthi is a specialised treatment for hair loss. A special leak proof container (with sides but no base) is placed on the head and filled with warm medicated oil that penetrates the hair follicle. Its action helps to stem hair loss and promote regrowth.
To treat the root cause of your hair loss, Ayurveda advises a panchakarma cleanse. The deep cellular cleansing process and eradication of toxins can greatly assist in overcoming problems of unhealthy hair loss.
After an initial consultation with an ayurvedic doctor who will assess your constitution and health conditions, your prescribed deep cleanse may include traditional therapies such as: Virechana (therapeutic purgation for pitta cleanse), basti (herbal enemas), abhyanga (ayurvedic therapeutic massage), nasya (nasal medication), and shirodhara.