Traditional Hair and Scalp Care

Older woman looking at graying hair in a mirror.

Unbalanced nutrition can accelerate skin aging, wrinkle growth, and physical decline. (Image: Victorrustle via Dreamstime)

Is the appearance of graying hair a warning sign of your good health being compromised? In addition to early graying, some people are more prone to battling oily scalp and hair loss. Are there ways to reverse these hair and scalp problems and prevent them from occurring?

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. David Kuo, Director of Yunlin General Hospital of Traditional Western & Chinese Medicine in Taiwan. He, interestingly, sheds some light on these issues.

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Interviewer: “What factors cause you to get gray hair and experience hair loss?”

Dr. Kuo:  “Our hospital has an East-West treatment method. For instance, when a patient enters the so-called acute treatment period of stroke, the Western doctor will immediately ask the Chinese doctor to go to the intensive care unit to help the patient with acupuncture. At that time, there was a 75-year-old grandmother who was lying on a hospital bed, not moving at all, and her limbs were paralyzed and weak. So we did scalp acupuncture for her because it stimulates the activation of the acupuncture points.

“During her stay in the hospital, the area that was stimulated by the scalp needle turned her gray hair completely black. However, when the grandmother recovered, she said she felt as though she had become younger after the stroke. This is because acupuncture treatment helps the body revitalize and enhances the body’s metabolism. Most importantly, it stimulates the hair follicles so that the original white and gray hairs slowly turn dark, producing shiny black hair.”

Black foods strengthen the kidneys to produce healthy hair.
To strengthen kidney energy, we should include black foods such as black sesame seeds. (Image: via Pixabay)

Foods that feed the hair and scalp

Chinese medicine also teaches that our five organs correspond to five colors. The kidneys are associated with the color black and the health and condition of one’s hair. For instance, people with dark, shiny hair are believed to have sufficiently strong ‘kidney’ energy.

To strengthen kidney energy, you should include black foods such as black sesame seeds, black beans, black mulberries, and black rice in your daily diet. These ingredients provide our kidneys’ with the necessary trace elements to produce healthy hair.

In addition, black Chinese herbs such as He Shou Wu and walnuts contain nutrients that help strengthen the kidneys and create strong tendons and blood, which aid in growing and maintaining strong, healthy hair.

Stress and lifestyle impact your hair and scalp

Prolonged stress and emotional depression can lead to a poor diet due to irregular eating times, thus depleting the body of essential nutrients. These two factors may contribute to people suddenly, in a short period, developing gray hair.

Equally, people who suffer from hair loss and oily skin should check the following factors that may give rise to their problem.

  • Staying up late and leading to irregular sleep patterns
  • Prolonged stress
  • Excessive work schedule
  • Overthinking issues
  • Psychological trauma
  • Sudden and unforeseen events

Five good habits that help maintain a healthy scalp and shiny hair

  1. Eat a balanced nutritious diet filled with more protein, vitamins, especially vitamin B complex, and minerals such as zinc. Avoid foods that overstimulate the body. Instead of frying meat, try baking, and try steaming in the case of fish. As for spicy dishes, reduce the spiciness or frequency you consume them. 
  2. Maintain a disciplined and structured daily routine, avoid staying up late, don’t smoke and drink, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. An oily scalp stems from one’s diet and sleep pattern.
  3. Avoid prolonged stress by indulging in relaxation techniques to relieve stress.
  4. Reduce the number of times you dye and perm your hair and always use good quality shampoo. Refrain from pulling out gray hair as this will damage and stimulate the surrounding hair follicles, causing hair to fall out faster.
  5. Massaging the head helps blood circulate throughout the scalp, which increases the supply to the hair follicles. 
Man meditating near the ocean.
Avoid prolonged stress by indulging in relaxation techniques to relieve stress. (Image: via Minghui)

Three traditional techniques that promote healthy hair and scalp

Besides using acupuncture, combing, massaging the head, and using fingers to press the acupressure points on the scalp can greatly benefit hair growth.

1. Sun Simiao’s hair combing method

Sun Simiao was a physician during the Tang Dynasty who developed the 13 Methods of Health Care. The first of these methods was called a hair combing method. He believed that the hair should be combed starting from the front of the forehead and moving to the back of the head.

The hair combing method also involved rubbing the palms of your hands together 36 times until they feel hot. Next, place the hands on your forehead and glide them over your hair to the back of your head. Repeat this 10 times, morning and night.

This hand combing method helps activate the blood and stimulate the head’s critical meridian points. Doing this action often can help brighten the eyes, dispel any wind, prevent headaches and tinnitus, and stop graying and loss of hair.

2. Using a comb 

Avoid using a comb with dense and close-knit teeth since this can quickly generate static electricity, leading to knotting and tangles. In addition, pulling the knots can affect the hair roots.

It is better to use a soft rubber comb, or one made of wood or other natural mediums, as much as possible, to comb your hair. Avoid plastic combs. Also avoid using a comb with sharp teeth, as they can scratch your scalp when you apply too much pressure.

3. Pressure points

In combing and massaging the scalp, use your fingertips to press the head when washing your hair. Follow the meridians to massage the two sides of the Shuaigu points. Next, tap the Baihui point and press the Fengchi point. 

Apply these techniques to relieve any pressure on the scalp and improve blood circulation. This will significantly benefit the health of your hair and scalp. 

Translated by Eva and edited by Maria

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