Traditional Chinese Medicine Meets Modern Hair Loss

Chinese medicine has a long history of treating hair loss and can often be very helpful both for stopping further hair loss and for supporting regrowth.

In Chinese medicine, healthy hair relies on a good flow of chi and blood to nourish the scalp. This flow can be interrupted by either a deficiency of chi and blood or a stagnation of chi and blood, even toxic heat accumulation that can lead to insufficient nourishment reaching the scalp, especially cells of the hair follicles. Poor blood circulation and chi defi-ciency are often caused by either poor diet or poor assimilation of nutrients, whereas chi and blood stagnation are often caused by stress or a hormone imbalance. Furthermore, toxic heat accumulation can be caused by improper diet (processed and fatty foods, sweets, etc.), as well as alcohol, tobacco, infections, environmental pollution or medications. Toxic heat accumula-tion results in inflammation and increases the acidity of the blood, often clinically seen as scalp dermatitis, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis or eczema. No matter what is the root cause among the three primary causes of hair loss, acupuncture can improve the flow of chi and blood in the scalp by tonifying deficiency, unblocking stagnations or clearing toxic heat accumulation to help hair regrow.

Chinese herbs along with acupuncture treat-ment create synergies that improve blood circulation of the whole body, efficiently increasing the distribution of needed nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the hair follicles to stimulate the growth of new hair and prevent hair from falling out. Several herbs are well known for their ability to treat hair loss. He Shou Wu (Polygonum Multiflorum or Fo-ti) is the best known blood tonic herb used in hair tonic formulas along with Dong Quai root (Dang Gui) and Rehmannia root (Sheng Di Huang). He Shou Wu also contains potent antioxidants and antioxidant-potentiating molecules so it protects the cells of the hair follicle from oxidative damage by free radicals or vasodilators. It increases blood flow, especially in the capillaries supplying papilla cells, with nutrients known to reverse hair loss and improve the anagen phase of the hair growth cycle. Chinese Arborvitae Twig & Leaf (Ce Bai Ye) and fresh ginger root (Sheng Jiang) are another Chinese herb combination commonly seen in hair tonic formulas, often in topical oil form, which is useful for stimulating hair growth by rubbing on the scalp. These herbs also promote skin health and are used to treat itchy scalp.

A daily scalp massage can help stimulate the scalp to improve blood circulation for hair regrowth. I suggest rubbing your scalp with Ce Bai Ye and/or fresh ginger and gently tapping all over the scalp with fingers or a wooden brush for five minutes morning and night.

If hair loss is an issue for you, be sure to discuss it with your practitioner at Tao of Wellness. We use both acupuncture and herbs along with nutrition and lifestyle suggestions to help our patients who are experiencing hair loss.