Times May Have Changed, ‘Champi’ Hasn’t

When I was little, Sunday afternoons were designated for head massages. Outside in the veranda, Dadi Maa would perch herself atop a mooda with the 6 of us cross-legged on the floor, waiting to go under her palms turn by turn.

A brass bowl of warm coconut oil and a 15-minute ‘champi’ (Dadi’s magical hand strokes), is all it took to be refreshed for the upcoming week. Years later, those sessions still linger in my mind and led to the discovery of a lifetime. While you can’t go back in the past, you can relive those traditions in the present, as I did with Forest Essential’s oils.

Champi, or the traditional art of head massaging, is in fact at the core of Ayurvedic hair care. Its benefits have been well-documented since ages and go way beyond the hair and scalp. The techniques used are known to have a profound impact on our emotional and physical well-being.

Times May Have Changed, ‘Champi’ Hasn't

Though the art goes back a long way in time, the bare bones have stayed the same.  Here’s all you need to know about self-champi sessions at home or away. 

Which oil is suitable for specific hair types?

Those with a dominant Vata have thin hair that tends to get frizzy during monsoon. Almond and sesame oil bring relief to this hair type by reducing dryness in the scalp. On the other hand, people with a strong Pitta dosha are more prone to premature greying and thinning. In that case, the deeply-hydrating coconut oil is your best friend.

If you have a dominant Kapha dosha, ensure regular use of sesame with a dash of mustard. Forest Essential’s range of hair care products is one of the most effective modern day translations of Ayurveda. Their formulation of the Bhringraj hair massage oil can be traced back to an ancient recipe mentioned in the Vedas. It contains Black sesame, Virgin Coconut Oil, nourishing properties of Goat’s milk, and potent herbs like Bhringraj, Mulethi and Brahmi.

How to perform the traditional Indian head massage? 

After choosing your oil, gently massage your head using your thumbs and fingers. Begin at the sides and work your way to the top. Then, applying light pressure, start kneading your scalpwith the heel of your hands as well as your fingers. This movement facilitates the removal of toxins and encourages the supply of fresh oxygen and nutrients. Continue this technique all the way down to your neck and other parts of your scalp.

Pay attention to the pressure points – balancing the energy in these points promotes a healthy flow of energy throughout the body. Ayurveda believes that the ‘life force’ is present in our head. So the stimulation of pressure points in the head promotes a healing effect in the entire body. Performing warm head massage oil once a week not only does wonders for the hair but also relaxes the mind and nervous system. 

How to maintain long hair?

The secret to long, thick and shiny hair lies in a handful of protein rich almonds. Excellent sources of Vitamin E, almonds are regarded extremely highly in Ayurveda for their nutritional value and Vata-pacifying properties. Owing to their warming qualities, sweet almonds are known to balance the Vatadosha – leader of the three Ayurvedic principles of the body that controls blood flow, breathing and movement of thoughts across the mind.


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