Why Does Scalp Massage Feel So Good?

Scalp massage feels incredibly relaxing and soothing. But why does massaging the scalp elicit such a strong positive response? In this article, we’ll explore the science and benefits behind scalp massage.

A scalp massage offers a host of benefits, from promoting hair growth to reducing stress. By the end, you’ll understand exactly why scalp massage feels so good.

Key Facts About Scalp Massage

  • Massaging the scalp promotes relaxation by stimulating nerve endings and increasing blood circulation. This releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin.
  • Scalp massage enhances blood flow to the hair follicles, delivering nutrients for healthy hair growth.
  • The technique relieves muscle tension and may ease headache pain and symptoms of anxiety or depression.
  • You can give yourself a scalp massage or have a professional massage therapist perform the treatment.
  • Oils like coconut, olive, and almond can enhance the scalp massage experience.
  • Regular scalp massage offers cumulative benefits for scalp health, hair thickness, and stress management.

What Is Scalp Massage and How Does It Work?

Scalp massage involves using your fingertips to apply gentle, circular pressure around the head.

This stimulates blood vessels, nerves, and muscles under the skin. 

Traditionally, oils or lotions are used to reduce friction and enhance the soothing glide of the massage.

During a scalp massage, the sensations travel to the brain via the nervous system. Massage promotes circulation and the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. As a result, you feel relaxed both physically and mentally.

diy scalp massage - illustration

The increase in blood flow also nourishes hair follicles with oxygen and nutrients. This can strengthen strands, encourage growth, and improve hair thickness over time.

While scalp massage provides immediate pleasure and relaxation, the benefits accumulate with regular treatments.

Consistent massage therapy may improve scalp health, reduce tension headaches, and support hair growth.

What Are the Benefits of Scalp Massage?

There are many excellent reasons to add scalp massage to your self-care routine. Here are some of the top benefits:

Promotes Relaxation and Reduces Stress

One of the foremost benefits of scalp massage is deep relaxation. The repetitive motions release muscle tension around the head and neck. Massage sends signals to the nervous system that it’s time to rest and recover.

As the body relaxes, massage also lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Scalp massage is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety. The increase in serotonin and oxytocin will boost your mood as well.

Increases Blood Circulation to the Scalp

Scalp massage delivers greater blood flow to the area, providing nourishment for the hair follicles. Well-circulated scalp tissue will function at its healthiest.

Massage moves blood through vessels and capillaries that may be constricted or blocked. Enhanced circulation ensures ideal nutrition, oxygen, and hormone levels around the follicles.

May Stimulate Hair Growth

By increasing blood flow, scalp massage delivers nutrients to energize the hair follicles. This helps create the optimal environment for healthy hair growth.

hair follicle - diagram

Massage also removes skin cell buildup around follicles. Unclogging pores allows strands to grow freely without obstruction.

While more research is needed, several studies indicate scalp massage can increase hair thickness and growth rates. It’s an easy, drug-free treatment to try if you want fuller, healthier hair.

Eases Tension Headaches

Pressure and muscle tightness around the head often lead to tension headaches. Massaging the scalp helps relax those tight areas and can alleviate headache pain.

headache - illustration

In a small 2014 study, scalp massage reduced the frequency of chronic headaches. Participants received 15-minute massage sessions several times per week.

After four weeks, they reported having fewer headaches.

May Improve Sleep

Scalp massage promotes overall relaxation, which can lead to better sleep. Getting a soothing massage before bed makes it easier to fall asleep and sleep more soundly.

In a 2005 study, neck and scalp massage helped hospital patients fall asleep faster. They also slept longer and rated their sleep quality as better.

Enhances Mood

Scalp massage boosts mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin. Studies show massage therapy can decrease depression and anxiety symptoms.

depression and anxiety - illustration

Even a 15-minute scalp massage can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed afterward. The mood boost provides a great reason to add scalp massage to your self-care routine.

How to Give Yourself a Soothing Scalp Massage

You don’t need a professional to enjoy the benefits of scalp massage. Here’s how to give yourself a relaxing DIY scalp massage at home.

Consider a scalp massage device

There are lots of different devices out there to help give yourself a scalp massage – and most of them are actually very inexpensive.

For example the device below, you just simply move up and down on the top of your head and it does the work for you!

scalp massage device

Use a Natural Massage Oil

For the most comfortable glide, use a natural oil like coconut, olive, almond, or jojoba oil. Add a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil to make it more aromatic. Apply a quarter-size dollop to your fingers and palms.

Focus on Your Fingertips

Keep your touch light as you work the oil over your scalp. Use your fingertips to make small circles around the head. Adjust pressure based on your comfort level.

Spend More Time on Areas of Tension

If you feel a tight spot, pause there and work in light circles to relieve tension before moving on. Don’t force it if a spot feels sensitive or painful.

Work from Front to Back

Start at your forehead and temples, then move up and over your head to the crown. From there, massage down the back of your head and around to your neck and shoulders.

Take Deep Breaths

Try to breathe slowly in and out as you massage. Deep breathing enhances relaxation and helps you tune into the calming sensations.

Rinse Out the Oil

After massaging, use shampoo to gently cleanse away any remaining oil. Make sure to scrub your fingers too.

Massage for 5-20 Minutes

For best results, aim for 5 to 20 minutes per scalp massage session. If you’re short on time, even 5 minutes can help you feel more relaxed.

Questions and Considerations About Scalp Massage

If you’re new to scalp massage, you probably have some questions about the experience and benefits. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

Does scalp massage help with hair growth?

While more research is needed, there is evidence that scalp massage promotes hair growth. Massage increases blood flow to provide oxygen and nutrients to the follicles.

This creates a healthy environment for hair to grow thicker and faster.

Be patient though – you likely won’t see dramatic results overnight. Consistency is key to getting the hair growth benefits.

Does scalp massage increase blood flow?

Yes, scalp massage has been shown to increase blood circulation to the head and skin. The massage movements dilate blood vessels to allow greater blood flow.

More oxygen and nutrients can reach the scalp tissue.

blood flow and circulation - diagram

This lasting increase in circulation makes the scalp healthier overall. It may support faster, stronger hair growth.

How often should you get a scalp massage?

There’s no set guideline on scalp massage frequency. In general, aim for at least once a week to relieve tension and support hair follicles.

If your goal is reducing stress or headaches, daily scalp massage may be helpful.

Listen to your body. If your scalp feels sore, take a day or two off before massaging again. If you don’t notice benefits, try increasing the massage time.

Should you use oil for scalp massage?

Using a natural oil enhances the massage experience. Oil allows your hands to glide smoothly over the scalp. Coconut, olive, almond, and jojoba oils work well. Avoid heavy conditioners or products with chemicals.

You can massage dry if needed. Apply lighter pressure to avoid irritation. Make sure your scalp and hands are clean to prevent oil buildup.

How do you give a scalp massage?

To perform a scalp massage, apply light, circular motions with your fingertips. Gently work around the forehead, temples, crown, and base of the head.

Add more oil if needed. Breathe deeply and focus on releasing tension.

Target any tight areas and spend more time where it feels good. Aim for 5-20 minutes per massage session.

Should you see a professional for scalp massage?

While you can easily massage your own scalp, there are benefits to professional treatments too. A massage therapist can target areas you can’t reach, like the back of your head. They also provide deeper pressure.

Salon scalp massages feel indulgent and are better for relaxation. DIY massages are convenient if you just want the hair growth benefits. Do what fits your needs, budget, and preferences.

Scalp Massage Techniques, Tips, and Tools

Now that you know the why and how of scalp massage, let’s look at some techniques, tips, and tools to enhance the benefits.

Massage Techniques

Try these different motions during your scalp massage:

  • Circular motions – Use your fingertips to work in small, gentle circles. Vary the size and speed.
  • Straight lines – Glide your fingers up and down in straight lines from front to back.
  • Finger raking – Lightly rake your spread fingers through sections of hair from root to tip.
  • Gentle taps – Use your fingertips to gently tap over the scalp to stimulate circulation.
  • Drainage strokes – Apply light pressure as you stroke down the sides and back of the neck.

Pro Massage Tips

Use these advanced tips for a more relaxing and rejuvenating scalp massage:

  • Start at the temples to set the relaxation tone before moving to the scalp.
  • Spend more time massaging areas that feel tense or tender.
  • Apply lighter pressure if you feel pain at any point.
  • Experiment with different motions to see what feels best.
  • Add a face and neck massage to enhance relaxation.
  • Play calming music and minimize distractions.
  • Trade scalp massages with a partner.

Scalp Massagers and Tools

While your fingers do the trick, using tools can enhance the massage:

  • Head massager – This handheld tool has metal prongs that glide over the scalp.
  • Shampoo brush – Use a soft-bristle shampoo brush to massage the scalp while shampooing.
  • Electric massager – Electric options provide a revitalizing vibrating massage.
  • Tennis balls – Tennis balls can target pressure points if you have a partner to help.
  • Hairbrush – Using a soft-bristle brush to massage the scalp when styling hair.

Sample Scalp Massage Routines

Not sure where to start? Try one of these sample scalp massage routines for relaxation and hair growth:

5-minute massage:

  • 30 seconds: Apply oil to scalp and hands
  • 1 minute: Circle fingertips over forehead, temples, and crown
  • 1 minute: Straight line strokes front to back
  • 1 minute: Circle fingertips over base of scalp and neck
  • 30 seconds: Light tapping with fingertips

15-minute massage:

  • 1 minute: Apply oil and warm hands by rubbing together
  • 2 minutes: Temple circles
  • 2 minutes: Finger raking through hair sections
  • 5 minutes: Circles over entire scalp
  • 3 minutes: Straight lines front to back
  • 2 minutes: Drainage strokes down neck and shoulders

20-minute massage:

  • 2 minutes: Temple circles
  • 3 minutes: Finger raking through hair
  • 5 minutes: Gentle taps over entire scalp
  • 5 minutes: Circles over scalp and neck massage
  • 5 minutes: Straight lines and drainage strokes

Customize as needed – spend more time on the motions that feel best to you. The key is applying gentle but firm pressure around the entire scalp.

The Takeaway – Why Scalp Massages Feel So Good

A scalp massage offers multiple benefits from enhancing hair health to reducing stress. But the main reason scalp massages feel so good is simple – they activate the body’s relaxation response.

Gentle massage motions send signals to your nervous system to lower blood pressure and heart rate. As you breathe deeply, feel-good hormones like oxytocin and serotonin get released.

This cascade of calming effects explains why scalp massage feels so relaxing and rejuvenating. Science confirms what you instinctively know – that nothing beats a good head massage!

Hopefully this article has convinced you to add scalp massage to your self-care routine. But the best way to know how good it feels is to simply try it yourself.

So go ahead – give yourself a scalp massage and experience the relaxing and rejuvenating results. Your hair and mind will thank you.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health practices. We are not responsible for any harm or injury resulting from the application of techniques described in this article.


  1. Healthline: Discusses the benefits of head massage, including its potential to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of tension headaches.
  2. HowStuffWorks – Health: Explores how massaging the scalp can stimulate nerves and blood vessels beneath the skin, and traces the history of head and scalp massage to India.
  3. Mindbodygreen: Highlights the reasons for scalp massages, emphasizing the release of tension in various parts of the head due to stress and posture.
  4. The Bodywise Clinic: Presents a study that found head massage treatment reduced depression symptoms, decreased feelings of boredom, and positively influenced anxiety levels.
  5. Happy Head Massage: Describes how scalp massage helps stimulate the nerves and blood vessels beneath the skin while calming muscle tension around the head.

Q: Why does scalp massage feel so good?

A: Scalp massage feels good because it stimulates the nerve endings in the scalp, which can help promote relaxation and reduce muscle tension. It also increases blood flow to the scalp, which can improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles and promote hair growth.

Q: What are the benefits of a head massage?

A: Head massage has several benefits. It can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, relieve headaches, and promote a sense of overall relaxation. Additionally, scalp massage can improve blood circulation to the scalp, which can help nourish the hair follicles and promote healthier hair growth.

Q: Is there any science behind scalp massages?

A: Yes, there is science behind the effectiveness of scalp massages. Research has shown that scalp massage can help increase blood flow to the scalp, stimulate the nerve endings, and promote the release of endorphins, which are natural pain relievers and mood boosters. These physiological responses contribute to the overall beneficial effects of scalp massage.

Q: How can a head massage help with hair growth?

A: Scalp massage can help with hair growth by improving blood circulation to the scalp, which can nourish the hair follicles and promote their health. The increased blood flow also ensures the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicles, which can support hair growth. Additionally, scalp massage can help reduce stress, and chronic stress has been linked to hair loss.

Q: Can scalp massages help with hair loss?

A: While scalp massage alone is not a cure for hair loss, it can be a supportive therapy. By increasing blood flow to the scalp and stimulating the nerve endings, scalp massages can help improve the health of the hair follicles and potentially slow down hair loss. However, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive treatment plan for hair loss.

Q: How often should I get a scalp massage?

A: The frequency of scalp massages depends on personal preference and individual needs. Some people may enjoy a head massage once a week, while others may prefer it more frequently. It’s important to listen to your body and adjust the frequency accordingly. If you have specific concerns about your scalp and hair, it’s best to consult with a professional hair or massage therapist for personalized advice.

Q: Can I massage my own scalp at home?

A: Yes, you can definitely massage your own scalp at home. Using your fingertips, gently apply pressure and circular motions to your scalp. You can also use natural oils or hair care products specifically designed for scalp massage. Remember to be gentle and not apply excessive pressure, as this can cause discomfort or damage to the scalp.

Q: Can scalp massages help with conditions like depression or anxiety?

A: Scalp massages can be beneficial for managing symptoms of depression and anxiety. The act of receiving a scalp massage can promote relaxation, reduce stress, and release tension. While scalp massages alone may not replace professional treatment for these conditions, they can be a supportive and soothing therapy that contributes to overall well-being.

Q: What other conditions can a head massage help with?

A: In addition to promoting relaxation and potentially helping with hair growth, scalp massages can also help alleviate headaches, reduce feelings of boredom, relieve muscle tension in the head and neck area, and improve overall blood circulation. Some people also find scalp massages to be beneficial for improving their mood and reducing feelings of stress or anxiety.

Q: Are there any specific techniques for a great scalp massage?

A: There are various techniques for a great scalp massage, and they can be performed by a professional massage therapist or yourself. Some popular techniques include gentle circular motions with your fingertips, using your palms to knead the scalp, or applying gentle pressure on specific areas of the scalp. Experiment with different techniques and find what feels most comfortable and enjoyable for you.