Who would not want a stress-relieving head massage after a long winter journey through cold Europe? I was glad to have my hair messed up at the hands of a very skilled therapist. It left me blissfully dazed for hours and took away the rest of a lingering headache.
The London Centre of Indian Champissage (LCIC), in the King’s Cross area of London, hosted me for a few days in January 2020 and allowed me to witness some of their signature treatments and trainings.
Head massage dates back over a thousand years in India and it started with the women’s practice of hair oiling to keep their hair long and healthy.
“Champi” refers to the scalp massage. It developed into a family tradition where infants received regular massages and learned to massage their elders. The barbers developed scalp massages as part of their services and still today, head massage is a common tradition throughout the country.
Narendra Mehta, a blind man came to England in 1973 to study physical therapy. However, he was disappointed with the lack of head massage in his new country. After one return trip to India to deeply study Champissage, he developed his own unique technique incorporating Ayurveda and the London Center of Indian Champissage was born in King’s Cross.
Mr. Mehta passed a few years ago and his surviving wife, Kundan has since retired. The school has been under the direction of Moses Chundi, their godson who not only expanded its services but also the training programs internationally. The centre has been seeing clients as young as eight years old in their 26- year history.
Dry or Wet?
Oil massage (wet Champissage) is wonderful for stimulating hair growth, strengthening the follicles, treating problematic scalp conditions, and promoting restful sleep. It is the better option, especially if you have no plans afterward and can leave the oils in for at least an hour.
I had the pleasure of experiencing a dry Champissage treatment from both Moses and Mina. The dry treatment is ideal for those who do not have the time for rinsing and just need to de-stress and relax. It is typically done in a seated position and fully clothed. This is to allow for optimal leverage of the therapist, to access the back of the head, and promote drainage. The friction and traction from the hair roots wakes up the brain but at the same time has a very relaxing effect on the client.
Moses started first with gentle pressure and strokes, then Mina took over with a more therapeutic intensity.
Mina, the head instructor and therapist, has strong hands and fingertips and vigorously worked her way up the sides of my head, then the base of the skull towards the hairline.
I can’t begin to describe the blissful state I fell into!
Ohhhh the Benefits!
Clients may notice improved and deeper breathing, better sleep, improved memory, and joint mobility, particularly in the neck. On a more subtle level, you may experience improved circulation and toxin drainage. Drink plenty of room temperature water after treatment.
The best part is the sensation of lightness, well-being, and a little euphoria, thanks to the release of endorphins!
Conditions that respond well to Champissage include:
Headaches, migraines, and neck tension
Jaw tension or TMJ Syndrome
Weak, brittle hair
Fatigue including eye fatigue.
Indian Head Massage should not be administered to those with the following conditions:
Fever, elevated temperature, inflammation.
Scarring, bruising on the scalp or surrounding areas to be treated.
Acute infections including skin or scalp infections.
Check with your physician before scheduling any new therapy or treatment.
Caution should be taken in the following conditions:
History of neck trauma, including fracture, whiplash, disc herniation, concussion.
Spinal conditions including spondylitis.
(It is always advised to check with your physician before scheduling any new therapy or treatment.)
Unfortunately, the world started to shut down right after I left my LCIC friends in January 2020, so I have not returned for training as planned. But what I did do, is take my own self-care scalp and cranial therapy to a whole new level, incorporating some of their magical techniques before I add my hair oil. It has made a significant difference in the fullness, lustre, and hair retention.
The centre offers several types of face and body massage as well, including the Natural Facelift Massage using Kansa Wand.
They are conveniently located just up the street from Pancras Station in King’s Cross area. I would highly recommend booking in advance before you visit London, so you do not miss this opportunity! It is truly the epicenter of Indian Champissage in the Western world.
To find a champissage therapist in your area visit their website. https://champissageinternational.com/ourservices/