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