The TCM view on Hair

Hair – The Legendary Story

While modern science defines hair as a  protein  filament  that  grows  through  the epidermis from follicles deep within the dermis of the skin,  according  to  the  TCM  literature written 2,500 years ago, “Hair, simply put, is the appearance of the whole body”.

Hair grows and withers in accordance with the sufficiency of Qi  and  Blood,  the fundamental   health   substances   in   our   body.   This   has served   as   one    of    the great innovative contributions towards diagnosis for the development of medicinal systems and it is  still  one  of  the  most  convenient  and  intuitive  methods  in  the  clinical  diagnosis and treatment of hair diseases.

Many  different  names  were  given  to  the  hair  loss  syndrome:  “Huang  Di  Neijing 黄 帝内经” called it  “hair  pulling”,  and  “Nanjing  难经”,  referred  to  it  as  “hair  falling”. “Sources of Diseases 诸 病 源 侯 论 ” deploys the description “the ghost licks the head”,

which many still reference for someone experiencing sudden hair loss!

Physiological alopecia

While it can regenerate when it falls off, the natural life of hair is only 3 to 7 years. A loss of 80 to 100 hairs per day is within the normal range. Life functions mirror the weather patterns of nature and hair falls off more predominantly during the drier seasons such as autumn. TCM believes that the state of the hair,  whether  it  flourishes or withers, relates closely with the rise and fall of quality our Qi and Blood.

Pathological alopecia

When it comes to Pathological alopecia, it can be a result of multiple causes such as:

Psychological alopecia

This typically happens when an individual experiences frequent emotional mood swings, irritability, overwork, insomnia, shock and other factors which can result in sudden hair loss. The areas of hair loss will appear to be patchy and shiny.

Seborrheic alopecia

There are two types: the first is the dry seborrheic alopecia which in  TCM  is  classified as “Blood deficiency heatiness and Dryness” Syndrome.  Individuals  affected by this  type   of   alopecia   will  experience   itchy   scalps   with   dandruff, dry and matte hair, and scattered hair loss at  the  vertex  of  the  head.  When  grabbed,  their  hair  will  easily  drop  off.  The  other  type,  the  Oil  seborrheic alopecia which TCM classifies as “Spleen and Stomach digestive systems Damp-heatiness”  Syndrome.  Persons  with  this  type  of  hair  loss  will   typically have an oily scalp, experience severe itching,  and  sticky  dandruff.  Hair  often  appears to be greasy, thin and matte at the vertex.

Symptomatic alopecia

This kind of alopecia can be seen in many diseases, as a local  symptom  of  a  disease, such as lupus erythematosus, where alopecia is the most representative symptom, manifesting mainly on the top of the head and around the hairline on the forehead. This kind of hair loss usually is arrested after the original  disease  is  treated, and hair will regenerate. Hair  loss   can   also be   caused   by conditions   such as dermatomyositis, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, anaemia, and scleroderma.

Medicated alopecia

This kind of hair loss mainly occurs as a side effect in the treatment of some diseases such     as     chemotherapy,    and    the     use     of      immunosuppressants,      such as  colchicine,  fluorouracil,  vitamin  A,  etc.,  which  can  result   in   total   loss   of hair. Excessive hair dyeing can also cause alopecia.

TCM Perspective and Treatment Recommendation

Considering the literature, theories and case studies from the TCM perspective, hair loss can be divided into two main categories: deficiency and excess syndromes. Deficiency refers to deficiency of Qi and blood;  and/or  deficiency  of  liver  and  kidney, and Excess refers to  blood  heatiness  or  blood  stasis.  The  treatment  that  is recommended will accord with the syndrome differentiation.

Deficiency of Liver and Kidney Viscera systems

Here the individual has weakness in congenital endowment, and will  start  to  have grey hair from their juvenile years. Often they will suffer  from,  or  have  a  family history  of,  serious  chronic  illnesses  resulting  in  viscera  deficiency  –  their  hair   will gradually  turn  from  grey  to  white,  and  hair  loss  will  result  in  sparse  hair. This syndrome is typically accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness, tinnitus, deafness, a sore waist and weak knees.

Treatment: Nourish the liver, the kidneys and the blood in order to strengthen the hair

Blood deficiency heaty type:

This syndrome is commonly  seen  in  teenagers,  manifesting  as  greying  of  hair  with dryness, dandruff, itching, and accompanied by warm palms and feet, palpitation and insomnia, although with many dreams.

Treatment: Nourish the Yin, and cool the blood in order to darken the hair

Qi Stagnation and Blood Stasis:

Individual with this  syndrome  clinically  will  manifest  with  sudden  large  amounts  of white hair within a short  period  of  time.  Before  the  disease  progresses,  there are many symptoms such as chest and flank swelling pain, irritability, and restlessness,.

Treatment: Regulate the liver and Qi, to promote blood circulation and to darken hair.

The TCM Hairy Exercise Recommendation

TCM believes that “All Yang meridians converge at the head”, and this includes all     the 12 main meridians  and the 8  extra meridians converging  with dozens of points  on the head. Correct daily head massage techniques through combing will be a good health betterment regime toward a crowning glory.

Hair combing can help to target and activate all  the  Yang  Meridians  on  the  head that will promote blood circulation to the head; and promote circulation in the meridians, regulate the brain’s central nervous centre, stimulate the secretions in the subcutaneous glands, increase hair blood flow and  slow  the  premature  aging of  hair. It also aids in the removal of dandruff and grease on the head.  Besides  managing hair loss, hair combing is a very effective treatment for vertigo, insomnia, and hypertension.

Combing should not be done with a rubber comb, as it may generate static which may harm the hair.

The TCM view on Hair

The Hairy Gorilla Approach

Having shared the different  treatment  approaches  and  techniques  in  mitigating  hair  loss,  I  have  come  across  this  unique  approach  championed  by  Hairy  Gorilla.  They have a mission to help all persons to strengthen hair vitality and to achieve a full hair of glory. I found the approach very innovative and  achievable  with  a  couple  of  easy-to- follow steps. Their hair systems concern and cover the very elements which I advocate in enhancing our crowning glory.

From the perspective of combing, the use of the Hairy  Gorilla  2-laser  comb,  which delivers low-level light therapy in wavelengths of 470nm and 660nm, improves the blood circulation to the scalp and enriches  the  roots  of  the  hair. In essence,  it  helps  to  promote  hair tissue repair and regeneration. Furthermore, the use of Hydrogen Water as  part of the hair care process aids the repair of the damaged cells by neutralizing free radicals.

From the viewpoint of nourishing Qi and Blood, traditionally, cashew nuts were recommended to strengthen the Kidney System, which plays a  significant  role  in  the  health of our hair. The  Hairy  Gorilla approach of supplementing the  body through the use  of wild cashew  nut  shell  oil  extract,  with  its  high  levels  of  anacardic  acid,  iron,  calcium, zinc, and selenium will contribute to necessary hair growth.

The Hairy Gorilla system has proven to be effective in the restoration of man’s crowning glory and I recommend you to consider using it to see how it may benefit you.

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