Can Yoga Improve Hair Growth and Thickness?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

How yoga may benefit your hair

There are two potential ways yoga may protect against hair loss and enhance hair growth. The first is through stress relief.

Yoga can reduce stress, a potential source of hair loss

Excess stress can lead to hair loss, according to a 2017 study. While the exact mechanism is unknown, researchers have a theory that extreme stress can affect the body’s immune system response and (usually temporarily) slow hair growth.

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Yoga as a practice can help reduce stress levels. A 2016 study found that yoga helps to reduce serum cortisol levels, which are associated with high stress levels.

A 2015 study found that regularly practicing yoga helped reduce inflammatory markers in the body. These could potentially reduce the effect stress could have on the body, reducing the likelihood a person could experience hair loss.

Yoga can also encourage blood flow to the head, which can reverse hair loss

Yoga could also protect against hair loss by encouraging blood flow to the head. Inverted (upside-down) poses can enhance blood flow to the scalp.

Medications used to treat hair loss, such as topical minoxidil, also work to enhance blood flow to the scalp, which can help reverse hair loss, according to research from 2020.

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However, it’s important to remember that yoga only temporarily encourages blood flow to the scalp. This can be different from the prolonged effects applying minoxidil regularly may help to elicit.

In addition, there isn’t a specific “prescription” for yoga and how many times a day you should perform it to see results.

Yoga poses to try

The following yoga poses may help to relieve stress, as well as encourage blood flow to the scalp. Specifically, research from 2019 suggests working through the poses found in the Sun Salutation series.

Pose 1: Uttasana (Standing Forward Bend)

This pose stretches the back and legs and involves folding forward, which helps encourage blood flow to the scalp. Here’s how to perform this exercise.

Pose 2: Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)
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Downward-Facing Dog is a very popular yoga pose. It’s another inverted pose that helps encourage blood flow to the scalp and proves to be very relaxing. Here are the instructions.

Pose 3: Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

This stress-relieving pose can help encourage scalp blood flow. You can perform this pose by following these steps.

Pose 4: Sasangasana (Rabbit Pose)

This stress-relieving pose has the added benefit of increasing blood flow to the scalp without requiring you to be completely upside-down. This is a good exercise to transition to or from Child’s Pose (see below). Perform using the following steps.

Pose 5: Balasana (Child’s Pose)

Child’s Pose is a common neutral pose to return to upon completion of a yoga pose. It’s a restful, stress-relieving pose you can perform almost anywhere you have the room. Follow these steps.

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Yoga can be a larger part of your overall wellness and hair-growth strategy. The following tips may also help you see enhanced hair growth:

  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet that contains lean proteins. Protein is the major building block of healthy hair and a lack of protein may slow hair growth. Options such as lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, fish, eggs, beans, low fat dairy, and nuts can help increase your protein intake.
  • Avoid excess supplementation with the nutrients vitamin A, vitamin E, or selenium. Researchers have linked an excess of these supplements with hair loss. Read the recommended daily allowance on the back of your supplement and take only the recommended amount.
  • Take gentle care of your hair. This includes avoiding heat styling whenever possible as well as refraining from pulling the hair in too- tight braids or ponytails, which can lead to hair breakage and loss.
  • Perform scalp massage. Putting your fingers in your hair and massaging your scalp can encourage blood flow and reduce stress. There’s no specific duration for scalp massage, just until you start to experience its stress-relieving effects.

It’s important to remember that there are also medical causes of hair loss, such as alopecia areata, which lifestyle measures alone won’t treat. If you’re concerned about your hair loss, talk with a doctor about potential solutions.

Takeaway

Healthy hair can enhance a person’s appearance. Yoga may or may not enhance your hair health, but it can certainly act as a stress reliever and improve your well-being.

Trying these yoga poses several days a week may help you see both results in your overall sense of wellness and in healthier-appearing hair over time.

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