Gill South: Tamed by the head mistress

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After the stress of the silly season, a relaxing ayurvedic head massage has Gill South purring like a kitten.

In India they believe massaging vegetable oils into your scalp keeps hair healthy and strong. Massaging also stimulates the blood flow to follicles which encourages healthy hair growth. Photo / Thinkstock
In India they believe massaging vegetable oils into your scalp keeps hair healthy and strong. Massaging also stimulates the blood flow to follicles which encourages healthy hair growth. Photo / Thinkstock

I don't know about you, but my favourite part at the hairdressers is the head massage during the shampoo.

For those of us who colour our hair, it's particularly fabulous. My hairdresser Chantelle does a great job, I just about fall off my stool when she does it, I'm so relaxed.

But it seems a bit much to go to Glenfield purely for a head rub, so I've stumbled across a place in Kingsland, a salon called Shape Beauty Therapy, that does Indian head massage.

And the timing is perfect - I've just had a family visit and the olds like a gin or two bang on the dot of 5pm so I've got that never quite without a hangover feeling that you get in December. That hazy, "Where should I be now?" fuzziness. And the Christmas parties have taken their toll too with my pathetic tolerance for alcohol.

I have done a bit of research on it, just in case it's not as good as it sounds. Indian head massage or champissage is based on the ancient Indian ayurvedic healing system.

It has been practised in India for over a thousand years and is still as popular today.

The purpose is to release the stress that has built up in the tissues, muscles and joints of the head, face, neck and shoulders.

Apparently, poor blood flow is related to stress- generated muscle tension. By getting rid of this, head massage can help relieve stress headaches and neck and shoulder aches which I am rather prone to - especially at this time of year.

In India they believe massaging your head with natural vegetable oils keeps their hair healthy and strong. Massaging the scalp stimulates the flow of blood to the follicles, improving the supply of nutrients needed for healthy hair growth.

That's what they tell me at Shape - it'll be good for my hair strength.

As someone with fine hair, the more luxuriant my hair is the better. I might end up looking like JLo if I keep this up. But frankly I'm just into this because it feels good.

My therapist, Sarita, lies me down on a bed and asks politely if I'd like her to use oil. Go for it, I say, I'm not doing this to look pretty. And she begins, hitting every headache-inducing spot on my head and its environs. It is sheer bliss for 20 minutes.

Now if you were a person who doesn't like massage - and there are a few of you out there, you crazy people, maybe this wouldn't be your thing.

But for me, a woman who must have been a cat in a former life, I love it. I even pay my 9-year-old to give me head rubs, that's how desperate I am. If I could purr, I would.

At the end of my session, I decide I don't mind looking as if my head has been dipped in treacle and pop into Grey Lynn library.

I attract a few odd looks but there are plenty of eccentrics who frequent my local, so I feel as though I fit right in.

Next week:

I go to see Career Analyst's Jo Mills, a careers coach who is going to see if I am on the right track in my career for my personality. This could be the last thing I write if I find out I'm better suited to being a firewoman.

- NZ Herald

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