When we heard there was a massage that would make hair healthier and promote growth we had to find out more. Dubbed a “champi” we tapped Sahara Rose, an Ayurveda expert, and April Peck, the founder of SAVE ME FROM, a brand built on Ayurvedic principles, to learn everything there is to know about the massage, which is our next must-do step for self-care.
What is a Champi?
A champi is a head, scalp and shoulder massage that kind of does it all. It incorporates the use of pressure points to relieve pressure, pain and tension and when used in a facial, it can “increase circulation, improve nourishment and calm anxiety,” says April.
You need a ton of natural oil to do the massage properly, so don’t be afraid of getting your scalp or hair saturated. A champi frees up the chakras in the head, face, and shoulders, relieving tension in those energy points in order to “alleviate fatigue and provide the opportunity for your mind and body to rejuvenate,” says Sahara.
The Benefits of a Champi
The benefits of the massage sound too good to be true and range from preventing hair loss by improving hair quality and stimulating hair growth, eliminating dandruff and improving scalp health to greater health benefits overall, such as reducing headaches, lowering blood pressure, and easing anxiety, depression, and anger. “It also energizes your whole body by strengthening memory, increasing mental clarity, peace, and alertness,” says Sahara.
How to DIY
To give a champi, focus on the points of tension and – like a regular massage – on relieving these areas of tension by applying the right amount of pressure. “When performing a champi, your hands should start by going from the sides and back of the head up to the crown,” says Sahara. “Your fingers and palms should be applying pressure on the scalp in a downward and forward motion, ensuring heat is produced through the friction. Then, your fingers should tightly run through the hair at the sides. After this, it is time to focus on the area surrounding the ear, by using a circular motion in front of and above the ear. As we are going further down, you massage both sides of the neck going up and down with your fingers. Then you tilt the head back and apply pressure by letting it rest on your thumb for around fifteen seconds. When Champi is performed on an individual, it is also recommended that they do their best to relax and practice deep breathing during the massage, and stay hydrated afterward,” she adds.
If you forget all else, just remember to “never lose contact with the skin,” says April, who recommends focusing your energy on your breath. “I like to start from the center and work out around the eyebrows, temples, cheekbones to the neck, holding each pressure point with a deep breath for seconds. This relieves tension, relieves pain and anxiety and improves circulation,” she describes.
All About Ayurveda
If a champi massage is any indication, Ayurveda can affect your health and diet in a really positive way. The major Ayurveda takeaway is that it’s all about being balanced. The hair is a great way to measure overall health, as internal issues are often expressed outwardly. “If you are having issues with your hair, it is very likely that you are suffering from an imbalance,” notes Sahara. “In Ayurveda, we identify these imbalances by investigating Doshas. Your Dosha is your Ayurvedic mind-body type, a unique combination of the three energies and you are predominantly one of these energies: Vata (air), Pitta (fire), and Kapha (earth). Your Dosha can also help explain the type of hair you have, and what to do to benefit it the most. The best oil to use during Champi can be also determined through your Dosha.” If you’re curious about which Dosha, you are, you can take Sahara’s quiz here.
Imbalances in Ayurveda are expressed by too much of one type of energy. “We suffer from an imbalance when we have too much of one of these energies in our body. For example, if you have excess Pitta, you might be experiencing early balding or graying hair. In order to stabilize yourself, you need to consume and perform activities of the other doshas that you are lacking,” she says.
More than anything, Ayurveda offers a personalized approach to health and reaching total wellness of the mind, body and spirit. “Ayurveda strives for knowledge and balance in treating the person (and system) as a whole. We are inspired by these Ayurvedic principles of knowledge, balance and wholeness,” says April.
If Indian hair is any indication, balanced is definitely beautiful. “For thousands of years, Indian women have practiced Ayurveda and achieved balance from tip-to-root. These women possess the world’s most sought-after hair qualities – shine, moisture, thickness, strength, manageability and optimal scalp health. We think it’s no wonder why Indian hair is used most often for hair extensions,” says April. Her line, SAVE ME FROM was created after discovering that Indian women’s secret for beautiful hair relied on fenugreek, an Ayurvedic spice recognized worldwide as an important medicinal plant. “Used in an intensive ritual, Indian women spend hours preparing fenugreek seeds into a miracle yogurt to restore hair shine, strength, hydration and nourish for a healthy scalp,” she adds.