Gentle and Nurturing Indian Head Massage

Indian Head Massage using gentle techniques is becoming increasingly popular in clinical and palliative care settings. A caring and nurturing touch on the back, head and face can bring great comfort to frail and elderly clients. Indeed, many Indian Head Massage therapists are now adding more gentle techniques to their sessions with regular clients as a way of enhancing relaxation and stress-relief. These techniques can be learnt on as part of my FHT accredited Diploma in Indian Head Massage. 

Much of the joy of using Indian Head Massage lies in its simplicity and accessibility – no special equipment is needed except caring hands.  Massage moves and treatment positions can be adapted in many different ways. Here is a video of some favourite gentle techniques chosen by my students and demonstrated on the head, neck and head.

A Caring Touch

  • Adapted Indian Head Massage always takes into account the fluctuating physical, emotional and energetic condition of the individual.
  • Treatment can be given through light clothing or with a choice of oils. Qualified aromatherapists may choose to use a blend of essential oils in a carrier oil.
  • In general terms, practitioners start gently and slowly – increasing pressure to suit the person, avoiding heavy percussion moves or very deep kneading, vigorous stretching or manipulation.
  • Treatment includes plenty of stroking, holds and repetitive moves.
  • Sessions tend to be of less duration, usually 20-30 minutes, but sometimes as little as five to ten minutes, which includes time spent on relaxation and breathing exercises.
  • The practitioner needs to be flexible and creative at all times, always aware of the body language of the patient.
  • Skin can be very sensitive and fragile, mobility can be seriously impaired, there may be drips and dressings to work around – and hospital beds can present a variety of challenges!
  • In some instances, treatment positions and massage moves may need to be adapted to such an extent that the Indian Head Massage bears little resemblance to original training.

Comforting Indian Head Massage

Many people explain that gentle Indian Head Massage offers a sense of safety and reassurance. It is positive and non-invasive and something to look forward within the loneliness of living alone, or the devastating effects of an illness. I have worked in palliative care for nearly 20 years and found that gentle Indian Head Massage is a very popular and beneficial therapy.

  • A  gentleman with Motor Neurone Disease commented that Indian Head Massage helped slow down his breathing which in turn, helped him relax and enjoy the psychological benefits of gentle touch.
  • A lady, who had lost her hair whilst undergoing chemotherapy, found that Indian Head Massage using organic sunflower oil helped boost her body image and confidence.
  • An elderly lady in a care home said that weekly Indian Head Massage sessions helped improve her sleep patterns and reduced her general feeling of frustration and irritability.
  • A gentleman said he liked to be seated on a chair as he felt more in control of the therapy and could get up to go to the loo if he needed.


Being Cautious

Therapists should always follow policies and guidelines which include issues surrounding consent to treatment, as well as cautions and contra-indications to Indian Head Massage which may be additional to those already covered as part of training. The therapist’s role is to offer a safe and appropriate treatment for the individual. It is so important that therapists learn to change their ‘mind-set’ from actively ‘doing’ to offering a calm presence and ‘being’ alongside the person.


Learning Techniques for Elderly and Palliative Care

You can learn gentle techniques and more about working with a caring, nurturing touch on my FHT accredited Diploma in Indian Head Massage.

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