Friday, November 13, 2009

Is Stress Making You Lose Your Hair?

By Dr. Maoshing Ni
We are all familiar with the comic character running around and pulling their hair out in reaction to a stressful situation. But you might be amazed to learn that there really is a connection between stress and hair loss.
Hair Awareness
The condition of a person’s hair actually reveals a lot about the level of stress in their lives. In Chinese medicine, the hair is viewed as a reflection of the vital kidney essence. Shiny, healthy looking hair generally indicates a state of contentedness and vitality.

On the other hand, dry, lifeless hair most likely signals that a person is struggling with stress and unhappiness. In the case of hair loss, the Chinese medical perspective regards the cause to be the decline of the vital essence due to stress, physical and emotional strain, an unhealthy lifestyle, and too much alcohol...

Growing, Growing Gone
Hair growth is affected by the hormonal system, in particular the androgenic hormones, which include testosterone and a derivative of testosterone called DHT. It is normal to lose around 100 hairs each day, which are replaced within days. However, as we age, our hormone levels fluctuate and start to decline. This reduces the stimulus to the hair follicles and results in hair loss.
Hair loss brought on by stress, called telogen effluvium, usually occurs after severe stress, such as surgery or illness. This type of hair loss causes large numbers of hairs to stop growing and shift into a resting phase; two or three months later, these resting hairs suddenly begin to fall out.
Intense stress can also trigger a type of hair loss called alopecia areata, in which white blood cells attack the hair follicle and halt hair growth. Within weeks, the affected hair falls out. With alopecia areata, hair loss usually occurs in patches but may eventually affect the whole scalp.
Hair Replenishing Remedies
I’ve had the gratifying experience of helping many patients recover from hair loss, whether due to chemotherapy, stress, menopause, or aging. Here are some hair loss remedies:
1. Wonder Herbs for Follicles
• Apply the Chinese herb arborvita to stimulate follicles, improve blood flow, and strip away root-clogging oils. I have used this herb for my patients for the past twenty years with great success.
• Evening primrose, flaxseed, and fish oils – usually taken in capsule form – are good for preventing damage to the hair and hair follicles.
• Ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp, green tea provides antioxidant benefits, and saw palmetto blocks DHT and prevents hair loss.
2. Blood Flow Helps Hair Grow
• Use a stiff toothbrush to tap the balding area with moderate strength for five minutes, twice daily. This local stimulation can help invigorate blood circulation.
• Try this Dao In exercise, which I recommend to all my hair-loss patients:
Sit comfortably on a chair or cross-legged on a pillow. With the tips of all 10 fingers gently tap the head all over, stimulating the scalp for about one minute.
Begin with light force and gently increase to moderate strength. Then massage the scalp with both hands for two to three minutes, gently at first and then more vigorously.
Straighten the fingers of your right hand, and with the palm side of fingers gently tap all over the scalp, 36 times. Repeat with your left hand, another 36 times. For best results, do this exercise twice daily.
3. Address Your Stress Level
A daily program of stress reduction exercises and meditation can help regulate your energy and strengthen your essence.
4. Go Natural Eliminate hair care products that contain harsh chemicals, which can damage hair roots and strip vital nutrients from the follicles. Use

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