Chinese Medicine Practitioner Shares Herbal and Acupressure Remedies to Manage Alopecia and Improve Hair Health

Chinese Medicine Practitioner Shares Herbal and Acupressure Remedies to Manage Alopecia and Improve Hair Health

One of the biggest enemies of maintaining good health is stress. It is a state that many of us are forced to go through at some point in our lives; it can harm our mental and physical health.

Problems like premature aging and heart disease are often associated with prolonged stress. Alopecia, a hot topic lately, is sudden patchy hair loss that is strongly linked to stress.

Stepping back from your worries and relaxing is one way to alleviate the problem. But anyone who has experienced unexpected changes or setbacks can tell you that this is easier said than done. According to Cinci Leung, a Chinese medicine practitioner with degrees in Chinese medicine and acupuncture, maintaining liver and kidney health can help lessen the physical effects of stress.

Here, the founder of traditional Chinese herbal medicine drink CheckCheckCin shares his thoughts on what causes alopecia, how it’s different from hair loss, and naturopathic approaches to better hair health.

Cinci Leung, practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine.

What is the difference between alopecia and thinning hair?
Alopecia occurs when hair suddenly falls out in patches. Thinning hair is hair loss under normal circumstances and is difficult to regrow, or newly grown hair comes back softer, thinner and weaker, which will fall back soon after and eventually will not grow back.

What are some of the main causes, from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, that cause alopecia?
The main common causes of alopecia are exhaustion, lack of sleep, psychological stress or a response to an unexpected change, resulting in qi and blood deficiency or liver qi stagnation. According to Chinese medicine, the liver governs our emotions and any negative emotion would injure the liver. The liver ensures the circulation of the meridians. If the organ is disturbed, we will experience emotional distress, causing the hair to lack nourishment, causing it to fall out in patches.

Basically, “soothing the liver” can help us relax and improve our emotional well-being.

How to deal with alopecia and hair loss with naturopathic remedies?
In addition to learning how to manage our emotions and relieve stress, we can also consume ingredients that can improve the flow of qi. These ingredients are white radish, dried citrus peel, five finger fig root and kumquat. We can also opt for floral teas such as rose, jasmine, bergamot and chamomile as they can help improve the circulation of qi and blood and eliminate stagnation in the liver.

Eating foods that help nourish the kidneys could also improve hair quality, such as walnuts, black beans, black sesame, and blackberries. It would also help to eat less cold and raw foods like salads, sushi, fruit juices or smoothies to improve overall health.

Herbal remedies such as jujube date tea can help improve hair growth. Photo: Shutterstock

What is a good herbal tea for hair growth?
Mint, jujube dates and mulberry tea improve hair quality by nourishing yin and replenishing blood to improve hair quality. It is suitable for those with gray hair or hair loss due to childbirth or excessive stress.

Mint, jujube dates and blackberry tea
Ingredients: 1g mints, 4 jujube dates, 6g blackberries
Preparation: Mix all the ingredients with 800 ml of water and boil for 30 minutes. Pour all the contents into a thermos. Reinfuse until the ingredients lose their flavor.

How can acupressure help?
When we reach our breaking point, try massaging the Hegu and Taichong acupuncture points, as this can help improve qi and blood circulation, regulate our emotions, and relieve symptoms of stress like headaches, dizziness, red eyes and eye pain.

4 acupressure points to counter negative energy and promote hair growth
Hegu Point
Effects: Alleviates symptoms caused by stress, such as headaches.
Location: Between the thumb and index finger, just beside the second metacarpal bone |
Method: apply gentle pressure with your thumb for 30 seconds
Note: Pregnant women should not press this acupuncture point as it has labor inducing qualities

Taichong Point
Effects: Relieves stress and stress-induced symptoms.
Location: On the back of the foot, about two finger widths above where the skin of your big toe and the next toe meet.
Method: Apply gentle pressure with your thumb for 30 seconds.

Baihui Point
Effects: Refreshes the mind and restores energy. The head is where all the yang meridians meet.
Location: The centerline of the head and 5 inches behind the hairline, in line with the tops of the ears
Method: Apply gentle pressure with your thumb for 30 seconds.

Jiaosun Point
Effects: Improves blood circulation and nourishes hair to promote healthier hair growth.
Location: At the back of both ears, in the hollow parallel to the tips of the ears.
Method: Apply gentle pressure with your thumb for 30 seconds.