While modern science defined Hair as a protein filament that grows through the epidermis from follicles deep within the dermis of the Skin, according to the TCM literatures written 2500 years ago, “Hair, simply put, is the appearance of the whole body”.
The Hair grows and withers to in accordance with to the sufficiency of Qi and Blood, the fundamental health substances in our body. This served as one of the great innovative contribution toward diagnosis for the medicinal systems development and it is still one of the most convenient and intuitive methods in the clinical diagnosis and treatment of hair diseases.
Many different disease names were given to hair loss syndrome, such as, “Huang Di Neijing 黄帝内经” called it “hair pulling”, “Nanjing 难经” called “hair falling”, ” Sources of Diseases诸病源侯论” called “the ghost licks the head”, which many still refers to it when we come across someone experiencing sudden hair loss!
The natural life of the hair 3-7 years, can regenerate when fall off. A loss of 80-100 hair per day is within the normal range. Life is a function on the weather pattern of the nature and we are part of the universe and hair fall off more predominantly during the drier seasons such as autumn. TCM believes that the states of the hair, flourish or wither relates closely with the quality of the rise and fall of quality in Qi and Blood.
When it comes to Pathological alopecia, it can be a result of multiple causes such as
Typically happens when individual experiences frequent emotional mood swings, irritability, overwork, insomnia, shock and other factors resulting in sudden hair loss. Hair loss area will appear to be patchy and shiny.
There are two types, the dry seborrheic alopecia which in TCM we classified it as Blood deficiency heatiness and Dryness Syndrome. Individual with this type will experience itchy Scalp with dandruff, dry and matte hair, scattered hair loss at the vertex of the head and hair drop easily when grab. The other type, the Oil seborrheic alopecia which TCM classified as Spleen & Stomach digestive systems Damp-heatiness Syndrome, Individual with this type of hair loss will typical having Oily scalp, 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 alopecia is the most representative, mainly on the top of the head and around the front hairline. The hair loss also stopped after the original disease was cured. Hair can regenerate, and hair loss can be caused by dermatomyositis, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, anaemia, and scleroderma.
This kind of hair loss mainly occurs in the treatment of some diseases in the course of drug side effects, such as chemotherapy use of immunosuppressant, such as colchicine, fluorouracil, vitamin A, etc., which can resulted in total loss of hair. Hair dyeing can also cause alopecia.
TCM Perspective and Treatment Recommendation
Consulting all the literatures, theories and case studies from TCM perspective, Hair Loss can be divided into two main categories: deficiency and excess syndromes. Deficiency refers to deficiency of Qi and blood, deficiency of liver and kidney, and Excess refers to blood heatiness or blood stasis. The treatment recommendation is according to the following syndrome differentiation.
Deficiency of Liver and Kidney Viscera systems
Individual has weakness in congenital endowment, start having grey hair from the juvenile, often have family history, or was suffering from serious chronic illnesses resulted in viscera deficiency, the hair is gradually turn from grey to white hair, and there are sparse hair loss. The syndrome typically accompanied by symptoms such as, dizziness, tinnitus, deafness, sore waist and knee.
Treatment: Nourishing liver and kidney, Nourish blood and strengthening 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, lots of dreams.
Treatment: Nourish Yin, cool the blood and blacken hair
Qi Stagnation and Blood Stasis:
Individual with this syndrome clinically will manifest with having large amount of white hair within a short period of time. Before the disease, there are many mental stimulation factors, accompanied by chest and flank swelling pain, irritability, and restlessness,.
Treatment: Regulate the liver and Qi, Promote blood circulation and black hair.
The TCM Hairy Exercise Recommendation
TCM believes that “All Yang meridians converge at the head”, all 12 meridians and eight extra meridians converge 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 targeting at activating all the Yang Meridian on the head will promote blood circulation to the head, and promote circulation in the meridians, regulate brain central nervous centre, stimulate the secretion of subcutaneous glands, increase hair blood flow and slow hair premature aging, help in the removal of dandruff and grease on the head and relieve fatigue. Besides managing hair loss, Hair Combing is a very effective treatment for vertigo, insomnia, and hypertension.
You are recommended to use a Yak Horn Comb or Black Ebony Comb which has blood cooling effect and traditionally use for Health Betterment Combing. Click to learn the Calming And Relaxing Hair Combing Technique
Combing should not be done with a rubber Comb, which may generate static which may harm the hair.
Dr Clement Ng
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