What Is A Scalp Massage- 3 Key Benefits And 3 Downsides

what is a scalp massage

What is a scalp massage? Read on to discover what a scalp massage is and the many benefits of a scalp massage. Photo by Autri Taheri on Unsplash

When it comes to the head, the scalp is often ignored. That is because we tend to focus more on the hair. Afterall, a healthy head of hair is a sign of beauty that is present everywhere.

Young children hear the story of Rapunzel and her beautiful long hair. Hair commercials focus on healthy, beautiful, long strands of hair. Even though a clean scalp is important, it just isn’t a huge selling point when it comes to hair care.

You don’t usually hear about scalp care unless there is a problem like dandruff or the potential to make your hair better by doing something to your scalp.

However, I believe that we should pay attention to the scalp.

This article gives the scalp some much-needed attention.  It specifically answers the question “What is a scalp massage”. In this article, you will learn all about scalp massages and how they can benefit more than just the quality of your hair. You will also learn about some of the downsides of a scalp massage.

Before we continue, I would like to emphasize that this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. I am not a medical professional. Please read my full medical disclaimer here.

Scalp Massages Are Fairly Simple

A scalp massage is simply the rubbing and kneading of the scalp. Scalp massages can be deeply calming because there are muscles all over your skull.

The temporalis is a large muscle found on the side of your head near your ears.  The frontalis is another large muscle found just above your eyes and there are a number of sensitive muscles on the back of the skull.

These muscles can become tense just like any other muscle (I personally tend to clench my jaw when I am tense which leads to tightness up my jawline and into the temporalis muscle).

There are a number of trigger points around the base of your skull. Trigger points are sensitive, tense areas of a muscle. Many people find relief from trigger points from a trigger point massage.

A scalp massage can be a novel experience because your scalp is covered in nerves that are rarely stimulated (except when you do something to your hair).

Scalp Massages Are Ancient

What is a scalp massage

Scalp massages have been around for thousands of years. You can get a scalp massage with or without oil.
Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Scalp massages have been around for over 1,000 years. Champissage is an ancient Indian head massage that is still around today.

It uses various techniques to not only massage your head but other parts of your body such as your neck and shoulders. These massages can be performed with oils too.

A major aim of a Champissage massage is to provide a deeper sense of calm and tranquility.

These massages are becoming more and more available popping up in various spas and salons around the world.

Benefits Of A Scalp Massage

Scalp massages have many benefits.

One possible benefit is hair growth. The idea is that scalp massages can increase circulation to the scalp thus increasing hair growth.

Circulation can actually increase hair growth. After all, that is how Rogaine works. However, I am not so sure that a scalp massage can increase circulation enough for hair growth.

I explore this topic in depth in the article “Does Scalp Massage Help Hair Growth?” Click the link to find out what I discovered.

Another benefit of a scalp massage is exfoliation.  It is not always best to wash the hair every day. That is because it is so easy to dry out the hair, making it brittle and prone to breakage.

As a result, we need to make sure that it counts when we wash our hair. Scalp massages are great because they lift dead skins cells from the scalp making them easy to rinse away.

This leads to a healthier scalp. Some people have even said that scalp massages have helped them with scalp conditions such as seborrheic dematitis, a flaking itching scalp related to the overgrowth of yeast.

I cannot guarantee that a scalp massage will cure you of any scalp conditions (in fact, you should seek professional medical advice if you are suffering from a skin condition).

However, a scalp massage can be an asset when you are trying to deal with a dry and flaky scalp.

The third benefit of a scalp massage is relaxation. I have seen people fall asleep while getting scalp massages. I have known people who hated every other type of massage because they were uncomfortable with people touching their bodies.

However, they found a deep relaxation from a scalp massage. Scalp massages are a great option for people who are put off from traditional massages.

People often find that scalp massages help them in ways that they do not expect. Below is a video from TrichJournel, a youtube channel dedicated to helping people understanding Trictillomania.

She found that a scalp massager helped prevent her from pulling out hair as she was going through the recovery process.

How to get a Scalp Massage

Scalp massages are easier to get now more than ever. Here are a few ways that you can get a scalp massage.

  • Salon

When you go to the salon and get your hair shampooed, usually they give you a scalp massage. People usually find these massages extremely relaxing, even though their main purpose is usually cleaning first, relaxation second.

  • The Spa

Some spas have a scalp massage service. These are usually more luxurious than your typical shampoo and involve oils. Your massage therapist may also incorporate other parts of your body into the massage such as your neck and shoulders.

  • DIY

You can give yourself a scalp massage. There are plenty of massage brushes that can enhance your overall experience and make your scalp massage easier on the hands.

This website has a full guide to the best scalp massagers. Click the link to discover the best scalp massagers!

The Downsides of A Scalp Massage

Even though scalp massages can have many benefits, there are also a few downsides.

what is a scalp massage

Unfortunately, scalp massages are not going to be for everyone. Photo by Francisco Gonzalez on Unsplash

First, since scalp massages move the hair around, they can lead to increased shedding. This was shown in one study that subjected 9 healthy men to 4 minutes of scalp massage a day. Even though they noticed some benefits, their hair ended up getting thinner.

We naturally shed about 100 hairs a day. Scalp massages may help clear away the hairs that have already been shed. They may also encourage hairs that are about to shed to fall out a little early. If you have thinner hair, A scalp massage may not be for you.

Secondly, if you have a sensitive scalp you may find most scalp massages unbearable. What feels like a relaxing experience for most people could be like nails running down the chalkboard for you.

Thankfully, there are plenty of other casual massages out there. If you don’t enjoy scalp massages but want a quick massage that doesn’t require you to remove any clothing, consider a foot massage, hand massage, reflexology, ear massage, or a chair massage.

You have plenty of options.

Third, you may become desensitized to a scalp massage if you overdo it. Scalp massages are a novel experience for most people. Many tend to be surprised by how much they enjoy it simply because they aren’t used to it. However, if they overdo it and become too accustomed to it, the magic tends to wear off.

The remedy for this is to not overdo it. If you want to use a scalp massager every day, say that you will use it for only a few minutes. Or you can only give yourself scalp massages in the shower.


In conclusion, scalp massages may improve the quality of your hair. They promote better exfoliation of the scalp and can possibly improve hair growth. However, the benefits extend beyond hair.

Scalp massages can be deeply relaxing and can be beneficial in surprising ways. Since scalp massages are easy to get, it can be a small way to show yourself some self-love.

Now It’s Your Turn

Has a scalp massage ever affected you in a way that you would not expect? Have you ever tried out a scalp massager? Let me know in the comments down below!

scalp massage benefits

  1. I loved reading this. It make me feel like I want a scalp massage now. I always enjoy when I go to the hair salon for a cut and the finger massage the hairdresser gives while she washes is beautiful.
    I had not thought about the benefits of it before other than the pleasure it brings.
    The other thing I learned from your article is that it also enhances hair growth. I will be lining up for more scalp massages.
    Tank you for a very well written and informative post.

    • I’m glad that you enjoyed the post, Judy. One important thing to note is that scalp massages have not been proven to grow hair. There are stories out there from people who believe that scalp massages helped them grow hair, but it doesn’t seem to be backed by science (yet). 

  2. Everytime when I get my haircut, I always get my scalp massaged during the hair wash and I always refuse to get them because I was afraid that they will pull my hair out
    I never knew that it is beneficial. Next time I am in the salon i am definitely going to ask for the massage!
    Thank you very much for the info!

    • Well, if you get a scalp massage, you do risk shedding some hair. If your hair sheds easily, you should approach them with some caution and know that it will likely cause some shedding and breakage. If you are comfortable with that, then it can be a very relaxing and beneficial experience. If you are not comfortable with that, then you should consider your other options. 

  3. It never occurred to me that a scalp massage could actually help my teeth clenching at night. I simply didn’t connect the two, but as you explained there are muscles just underneath the scalp–I had no clue!

    I have tried teeth guards, but I still press down on them. I appreciate knowing about this technique. Have you had any experience with people using the scalp massager that have TMJ?

    • Thanks! I am glad that this article gave you some insight. I have heard of people who felt that a massage helped them. However, it is always good to get a professional opinion.

    Leave a reply

    Radical Relaxation Central