In the 19th century, some people believed scalp massage could prevent and treat baldness. In the early 20th century, many salons developed machines with rubber fingers to deliver massages. By the 1930s, the American Medical Association (AMA) recommended that balding men give themselves five minutes of scalp massage in the morning and another five minutes at night to reduce hair thinning. Other physicians thought it best to slap the scalp with the back of a hairbrush, irritating the skin to treat the thinning area. By 1949, however, the AMA reversed its position and issued a report, stating that massage can't stimulate hair growth [source: Segrave].
Benefits of Scalp Massage
Your scalp is healthiest when it's clean. But it may also need a little stimulation to keep any potential problems away. Although further research is necessary to formally define the benefits of massage, some studies have shown that massage can increase the production of certain chemicals in the body, including endorphins and serotonin [source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine]. These chemicals can help put you in a better mood, reducing your stress and creating an environment for relaxation.
Scalp massage also can relieve pain by improving circulation and removing muscle tension [sources: WebMD]. This can be especially helpful if you have a migraine or headache. Migraines are sometimes caused by a decrease in serotonin levels; scalp massage may be able to increase serotonin levels and relieve pain. Headaches, on the other hand, may be caused by muscle tension, which a scalp massage can also alleviate [sources: Mayo Clinic].
If you sit at a desk all day, you're probably familiar with a feeling of stiffness in your neck. It can even happen when you're watching a long movie in a theater or if you sleep in an awkward position. Since a scalp massage often includes massage of the neck, back and shoulders, it can also help relieve that crick in your neck [source: Selinger].
You've learned how fingers can work wonders during scalp massages, but what about using massage brushes? Read on to find out if they're worth the investment.