What is a scalp massage?
They are simply massages that are localized and focused on your scalp area—pretty simple, no? And like any localized massage, it comes with unique techniques and practices specific to the needs of the area. For example, while your back muscles tend to need heavier prodding and handiwork, a scalp massage really only involves your fingers and (maybe) a pass of your palm.
The reason for scalp massages boils down to the same reasons we get massages elsewhere: We hold tension in our bodies. "We tend to hold a lot of tension across our hairline, behind our ears, and in the neck; this is mostly due to stress and partly to posture," "We accumulate quite a lot of tension in these areas and often disregard them."
We hold tension there because, well, we have muscles there. The largest is the temporalis muscle, which runs from behind your ear, around your head, and to the back. This muscle can become strained in the same way your shoulder or jaw muscles can become so: By holding them tightly during times of stress.
Can it really help hair growth?
Hair growth is the biggest benefit associated with scalp massage—but when you tell nonbelievers, this may solicit a raised brow or eye roll. (To which we say: Fair, without the full explanation of why, it does seem like a stretch to make the connection.) But according to research and hair care experts, the claims check out.
"Beautiful, strong hair depends on good blood circulation, proper nutrition, and a healthy and supple scalp," says board-certified dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D., who specializes in hair care and founded MDHairMixtress. See, what's theoretically happening with regular scalp massages, is that the extra attention is helping encourage blood flow to the area, bringing with it oxygen and hair-healthy nutrients. This is especially helpful for those who do have a tense scalp, as muscle tension can often inhibit proper blood flow to the area