The hair and fingernails can be a good determinant of the overall health of your body. Not to mention that the quality of our hair is also really important for your self-confidence. When you hair starts to thin or recede it can be an indication that your hormones are out of balance and something needs to happen to get them back on track. In addition to hormones the dominant theories also include nutrient deficiencies, autoimmune conditions and stress.
Ayurveda is uniquely attuned to be able to address stress related hair loss. Ayurveda has precise practices from maintaining energy levels, balancing sleep patterns, maintaining a positive mood and improving our behavior and decision making abilities. By combining all of these we get a more complete picture of the person and the effect their decisions have on their appearance.
Ayurveda is uniquely attuned to be able to address stress related hair loss.
Ayurveda has recognized that there are three types of sympathetic responses creating stress related to the three doshas:
- Fight – Pitta
- Flight – Vata
- Freeze – Pitta
While I wish that the most common stress caused hair disorders fit into nice Doshic categories as it is often times the case with stress we use all three of the sympathetic responses. So a condition is usually a combination of all three dosha’s with one being the most prominent. We can determine this by the signs that go along with the disorder.
Here is a rundown of the most common types of stress related hair loss:
Alopecia areata (also known as spot baldness): A traumatic event will create stress that leads to an autoimmune condition in which hair is lost in patches. This usually occurs on the scalp, but it can occur anywhere. Localized treatments are often ineffective because the autoimmune response must go into remission in order to get positive results.
Telogen effluvium: Like everything in the body the hair follicles need rest. They will often have times of the day when they grow and others where they rest. A stressor can signal our hair follicles to go into a deep hibernation which will affect the overall growth of the hair.
Trichotillomania: Stress can lead us to do some pretty strange things and this condition is when stress leads someone with this behavioral disorder to pull out patches of hair from the scalp. Ouch!
In addition to the natural recommendations listed below it is important to get a full workup by a trained physician and determine if there are any hormonal or nutrient deficiencies leading to your hair loss. It can also be beneficial to seek some sort of psychotherapy as hair loss can be a difficult to understand. The focus of these session should be on helping you focus your energy on what you have control over instead of worrying. More advanced analysis can be used to study the scalp, hair shaft and the hair itself in detail. See if there is someone in your area that provides this type of treatment.
Manage Your Stress
As stress is related to all forms of hair loss it is important to develop an effective stress management system. This is where we come back to Ayurveda’s understanding of stress.
If when faced with stress you tend to fight and you feel really angry about your hair loss then you will want to employ some Pitta pacifying procedures. Pitta is realted to fire and as heat rises it can burn out the hair follicles if you are under too much stress. Here are a few guidelines to work with:
- Meditating on a lake or other bodies of water
- Visualize the heat moving downward into your shins or do a style of yoga that promotes downward moving energy
- Rub coconut or bhringaraj oil on your scalp and hair. When you go to wash it out, put shampoo in your oily hair before getting it wet otherwise the oil will not come out.
Vata’s tendency when faced with stress is to flee. If you are feeling really fearful about your hair loss and are worrying that it may indicative of a more serious disease then you need to pacify Vata. Here are a few guidelines to work with:
- Meditate on a mountain or in the forest
- Visualize the sun in your belly able to light up the entire earth
- Rub sesame oil or bhringaraj oil on your scalp and hair. When you go to wash it out, put shampoo in your oily hair before getting it wet otherwise the oil will not come out.
Kapha’s tendency when faces with stress is to freeze. If you feel like it is no big deal that you are losing your hair and you don’t really care then you need to pacify Kapha. Here are a few guidelines to work with:
- Meditate in the desert under a tree or on a windy cliff
- Visualize the web of your heart expanding out in all directions and linking you to every person in the world.
- Rub sunflower oil or bhringaraj oil on your scalp and hair. When you go to wash it out, put shampoo in your oily hair before getting it wet otherwise the oil will not come out.
These suggestions are very basic and there is so much more that can be done when a thorough assessment of the problem has be established, but these recommendations can be a good stepping stone.