Aromatherapy Massage for Alopecia Areata
Having suffered with particularly high stress levels, I have experienced alopecia, leading me at one point to shave my head. Not wanting to go to that extreme again, I am looking into other treatment options, including scalp massage and collagen treatments.
Alopecia areata, a hair loss condition, can be psychologically devastating, and pharmaceutical treatments can be quite toxic and aren’t always particularly effective, so natural remedies are a popular choice.
The main characteristic of alopecia areata is short, broken off hairs at the site of hair loss, that are narrower closer to the scalp. Remission occurs within a year for up to 80% of cases, but this is significantly lower in those with more extensive hair loss, meaning that a wig may be the best treatment. Suffering with alopecia is stressful enough, but the uncertainty of how long it will continue, combined with the possibility of it not growing back at all, means that use of essential oils in a scalp massage, which will improve stress levels, can be an effective treatment.
TYPES OF ALOPECIA
Hormonal changes can cause some increased hair loss, maybe postnatally or after discontinuation of birth control and this is fairly normal, not to be confused with alopecia.
• ALOPECIA AREATA - causes patches of hair loss
• ALOPECIA TOTALIS – causes all of the hair to be lost Research points to an immune system abnormality as a cause of alopecia, which leads to a negative immune system response, where by lymphocytes penetrate the hair follicles, disrupting the hair follicles and normal hair formation.
CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS
• poor nutritional status
• hormonal imbalances, particularly the thyroid gland
• autoimmune conditions eg.allergic disorders, thyroid imbalances, vitiligo, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis
• genetic link
BENEFITS OF MASSAGE
• improved blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles
• conditions the scalp due to enhanced uptake of nutrients that occurs with improved blood flow and use of nourishing oils, which reduce dry skin and dandruff which may interrupt hair growth
• strengthens the roots and reduces the likelihood of brittle, split, and broken hair
• aids relaxation and reduces stress levels – lower levels of stress hormones means more efficient bodily functioning
THE USE OF AROMATHERAPY MASSAGE
Research has shown that use of specific essential oils on the scalp can help improve alopecia areata in around 44% of cases, but care must be taken to ensure that this will not further compromise the remaining hair. A combination of the following essential oils is thought to be beneficial:-
• Thymus vulgaris (thyme),
• Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)
• Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary)
• Cedrus atlantica (cedar) in a base of jojoba and grapeseed carrier oils massaged into the scalp daily