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London E1 7NE
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Sat-Sun: 11am-8pm
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53 Theobalds Road
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Sat: 11am-8pm
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Indian head massage

A bit of history

As with so many alternative therapies, Indian head massage dates back thousands of years, and finds its roots in early Ayurvedic texts. Ayurveda is the oldest known system of medicine and lays the foundations for many healing practices, including Thai massage. In the UK, its modern standing dates only so far as the 1970s when Narendra Mehta, a physiotherapy student, adapted the traditional Indian treatment to suit western tastes. He named the massage “Indian Champissage” from the Indian word “Champi” meaning “head massage”. Both terms Indian Head Massage and Champissage are used interchangeably today.


We normally imagine massage targeting big muscle groups of the legs and back, but the small muscles of the scalp (think of frowning), jaw (think of clenching) and neck are just as prone to build-ups of tension. Your face and scalp have a high density of nerve endings meaning they are more responsive to touch than, for example, your back.

Physiological benefits of head massage are primarily the relaxation of muscles in the neck and shoulders, improving flexibility; and of the face and scalp, relieving eye strain, some sinus issues, and tension in the jaw, forehead, and temples. Sufferers of headaches and migraines and anxiety often seek head massage treatment, and can find that it can even help relieve a headache which is “in progress”. On an emotional level, the release of endorphins which accompanies a good head massage can relieve anxiety and stress, and create an overall sensation of relaxation and well-being.

Sometimes the treatment includes oils (coconut is typical), which help keep hair shiny and nourished; meaning the massage can be promoted as enhancing scalp and hair health. There are several more tenuous claims for scalp massage helping hair thickness and even claims of positive effects on baldness but we are skeptical of these.

Compared to Thai head/neck/shoulder massage

The first noticeable difference is the position: Indian head massage is usually performed with the client seated, and wearing light clothing. This makes it convenient for short treatments of just 20-30 minutes, meaning it can be incorporated into other full-body treatments (or sometimes after beauty treatments or haircuts) and making it a good starting point for someone new to massage. When receiving our Thai head/neck/shoulder massage, customers are lying down and undressed as for other styles of massage. Our treatments are 60 minutes long, giving more time to work on back and shoulder tension as well as head and neck.

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