Can Scalp Massage Cause Hair Loss?

by MassageJoy - February 8, 2019

When you find clumps of hair coming off after a scalp massage or after brushing your hair and bald patches begin to appear, you have a serious hair loss problem. You might begin to wonder if all the stretching of your scalp and the vigorous rubbing during a scalp massage is to blame. I asked our massage therapists to pitch in with their expertise and help answer this question.

So can a scalp massage cause hair loss? A scalp massage does not cause hair loss. We lose about 100 hairs per day on average. However, if you are suffering from hair loss due to causes such as mental strain, chemotherapy, ill-health, and prolonged medical treatment, you will find clumps of hair coming off during a scalp massage.

The sight of clumps of hair in a comb, after a shower or after a scalp massage can be frightening. In this article, I will show how you can use scalp massage to limit hair loss. I will also show you basic scalp massage techniques. I will give you a list of essential oils you can use for your scalp massage. Finally, I will talk about the precautions you should take to prevent hair loss.

Scalp Massage to Reduce Hair Loss

During a scalp massage if you are seeing above average hair loss then you are probably suffering from hair loss due to other reasons. Losing about 100 hairs a day is normal and average.

If the hair loss is sudden and in a haphazard manner, then you will need to see a doctor. If you have increased steady hair loss over a period of time it may be due to hereditary reasons such a male/female pattern baldness. However, a scalp massage is never the root cause of hair loss.

A scalp massage in fact helps reduce hair loss. A study has shown that scalp massage increases hair thickness and can also aid in hair regrowth. During a scalp massage, a massage therapist uses techniques to stretch and stimulate your scalp. This, in turn, leads to increased blood circulation in the scalp which is the primary factor that helps reduce hair loss.

Improved blood circulation stimulates the hair follicles and leads to increased oxidization, sufficient to bring about hair regrowth. You might have come across medical devices, such as laser therapy caps, which induce hair growth by increasing blood circulation in the scalp. Improved blood circulation leads to the improved supply of nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles.

Here are 4 simple scalp massage techniques you can use to reduce hair loss:

  • Temple Friction Technique
  • Pull & Hold Technique
  • Slide & Hold Technique
  • Hair Part Technique

Temple Friction Scalp Massage Technique

You can typically begin a scalp massage with this technique. This technique is usually applied to the temples but can be extended all over the scalp.

Temple Friction Scalp Massage
Temple Friction Scalp Massage Technique
  • Start with dry hands and no oil
  • Place your fingertips on the recipients temple region as shown in the illustration
  • Start applying friction in a circular motion
  • Continue the circular friction motion in the same spot for about 30-40 seconds, slowly increasing the pressure
  • Move your fingers to other area of the scalp and repeat the process

Pull & Hold Scalp Massage Technique

This is a very relaxing technique for the recipient. You can also consider beginning the scalp massage with this technique.

Pull & hold scalp massage
Pull & Hold Scalp Massage Technique
  • Start with your hands dry and do not use any oil at this point
  • Use both your hands to grasp some of the recipient’s hair
  • Lightly pull and hold for 5-10 seconds
  • Make sure you are pulling the hair in your grasp at the base so that the pressure is spread over the scalp surface
  • Make sure you are not pulling in an uprooting manner. Apply the pulling pressure in a grasping manner and not in an upward manner
  • Perform this technique 5-6 times
  • Release and grasp another portion of hair and repeat the process

Slide & Hold Scalp Massage Technique

This is a variation of the pull and hold technique and is especially useful for people with long hair

Slide & Hold Scalp Massage
Slide & Hold Scalp Massage Technique
  • Start with dry hands and no oil
  • Place your hands on their scalp and grasp a fistful of hair
  • Slowly pull their hair in an upward manner while gliding all the way to the tip of their hair
  • Release and go back to the scalp and grasp the hair again and repeat this process 5-6 times
  • Release and grasp the hair at another part of the scalp and repeat the process

Hair Part Scalp Massage Technique

You can end a scalp massage with this technique

Hair Part Scalp Massage
Hair Part Scalp Massage Technique
  • Start with dry hands and no oil on your hands
  • Place your hands at the top of the recipient’s scalp
  • Move your thumbs along the scalp parting the hair of the recipient
  • Your thumb should be massaging the scalp as you continue parting the hair as your thumbs move all over the scalp
  • You can perform this technique till you have covered the entire scalp

You can use a combination of all these techniques and in different sequences to give a varied scalp massage. Performing such a scalp massage regularly will greatly help to reduce hair loss.

Hair Regrowth With Essential Oils

Essential oils, and several nut oils, can stimulate hair follicles and increase blood circulation leading to increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles, leading to regrowth of hair.

The following essential oils can be used to treat alopecia

CarrotSageRoman Chamomile
Palma RosaThymeRose
YarrowClary SageRosemary
CalendulaJojobaEvening Primrose

These essential oils can be combined to create shampoos and conditioners that can be used regularly. Essential oils can also be applied on the scalp in small quantities mixed with water.

Essential oils can also be used to deal with male and female pattern baldness. Drugs have been identified that will stimulate hair growth in cases of hereditary baldness. These drugs help in hair growth by stimulating hair follicles, that have lost their capacity to grow hair, to regrow hair.

These drugs typically operate by dilating blood vessels, stimulating cell division and in the process encouraging hair growth. In a similar manner essential oils used for hair regrowth, dilate blood vessels and stimulate cell division leading to hair growth. The essential oils used also affect the whole circulatory and lymphatic systems.

The following essential oils can be used to stimulate hair growth in cases of male and female pattern baldness


To use these essential oils you can create a synergistic blend of essential oils. Then take 1 drop of this synergistic blend and mix it with 1/4 teaspoon of cold water and apply on your head in the balding regions. This is a long term treatment option and this process should be continued for 4-6 months to see results.

Precautions to Prevent Hair Loss

Whenever you are treating hair loss either with a scalp massage regimen or with essential oils, following these precautions will be helpfu

  • Use only purified water (boiled of filtered) to wash your hair
  • Avoid chlorinated swimming pools
  • Have a health diet and take vitamin B supplements
  • Shampooing too often can increase hair loss, so cut down on that
  • Avoid treatments that can stretch weakened hair, such as conditioning and using hair straighteners
  • Chemical products leave residue which if built up leads to hair loss
  • Cater to your skin type, for example, do not use oils if you have a greasy scalp susceptible to dandruff

Related Questions

How long should I massage my scalp for hair growth? Massaging the scalp aids in hair growth by improving circulation to the scalp and hair follicles. Massage your scalp in a circular manner for 5-10 minutes every day for a period of 4-6 months to start seeing results.

Is oil massage good for hair fall? Ideally, a scalp massage should be performed without oil. Essential oil, such as jojoba oil, massage does help reduce hair fall. However, the quantity of oil used should be minimum, about a dessert spoon full and not handfuls of oil.