What do Shampoo, Massage and Brighton have in common?

Answer: Doctor Brighton.

Brighton’s fascination with all things Indian and Oriental doesn’t stop at our magnificent Royal Pavilion with its minarets, domes and pinnacles.

Sake Dean Mahomed was a pioneering guy from India, who in 1814 was famous for bringing Indian Massage to Europe for therapeutic purposes and not just to Europe, but to our very own Brighton at the building which is now the Queens Hotel.

He became known as Doctor Brighton

Mahomed opened England’s first commercial ‘shampooing vapour masseur bath’ claiming that his massage techniques could cure many ills. He became known as Doctor Brighton and was appointed shampooing surgeon to both King George IV and William IV.

Shampoo actually derives from the Hindi and Urdu words ‘capo’ and ‘capna’ (to massage or press) and in fact shampoo meaning ‘to wash the hair’ didn’t get used over here until the middle of the 19th century.

Most of us relate shampooing massage actions to Indian Head Massage which has evolved from Ayurvedic techniques used in India for thousands of years and from the premise that we should live life in health both physically and emotionally. Ayurveda aims to balance the three life-giving forces known as doshas. They are Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

As we now provide it in the West, it is a luxurious and skilful massage which also includes neck, shoulders and upper arms.

It’s the ultimate therapy to help unwind and relieve stress.

Indian Head Massage can be received seated or lying down, with clothes on or with shoulders exposed.

Here are some nerdy nuggets about your noggin and why it’s sooo good to massage it!

  1. Did you know that your scalp has a fantastic sheet of connective tissue which is made of layers of delicate, thin sheaths? It runs from the back of your head to your hairline at the front. It’s called the Galea Aponeurotica. Galea is Latin for Helmet and an aponeurosis is a type of connective tissue. It acts like a spring to bear the extra pressure and tension and it attaches the Frontalis muscle on your forehead and the Occipitalis just above your skull at the back of your head. When it gets tight, it acts like a tightening scull cap on your head which can cause headaches and pain.
  2. In Chinese Medicine the Gall Bladder meridian passes over the shoulders and over the scalp in a line above the ears. Not suprisingly massage here is indicated for migraines, headaches and toothaches. Similarly, the bladder meridian starts at the inner eyelid and travels across the front of the head to the back and down the back to the back of the legs. It’s indicated in many disorders including painful eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion and nose bleed.
  3. Myofascial trigger points in the upper trapezius muscles (those tight shoulder muscles) can refer pain in a pattern that follows the gall bladder meridian path over the scalp. Clearly the ancient Chinese pioneers of medicine were way ahead of us in the West.
  4. The ‘superficial myofascial backline’ is a pathway of fascia or connective tissue that runs from forehead, over the skull, down the back to the bottom of the feet (once again, see bladder meridian above) Myofascial Release techniques work by recognising the links between one area of tension in the body and pain or disfunction in another part.

In a nutshell, all of this means that releasing tightness in the scalp can help to loosen other areas of restriction in the body. 

Whether it’s for relaxation and inner peace or to relieve physical tension, Indian Head Massage could be for you. Indian Head Massage can now be booked via my booking page or scalp massage can be incorporated into Clinical Massage where indicated.

End note:

Check out this incredible video of the Cosmic Barber Baba Sen (sadly now deceased) for the best of Indian Head Massage in India

(I just loved this mans dedication and showmanship and how he worked with energy) 

If you are interested in trying some energy work on yourself, try out this affirmation which supports the crown chakra located at the top of your head

 “I see the beauty in the world and I embrace it.”



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