Stress and hair loss appear to be strongly linked, at least as a popular conception, but is there any truth to it, and if so what can you do to reduce stress and reduce the effect on your hairline?
In this article I’m going to argue that stress can cause hair loss, I’m going to look at why it does, and then look at the most effective ways to combat it. I’ll show you some powerful techniques that when used consistently, work as a powerful way to protect your hair.
If you are suffering from hair loss, reducing your stress levels are just one piece of the puzzle. There are many other factors that come into play so I recommend taking a good look around at how to cure hair loss naturally after you’ve finished reading this article.
Does stress actually cause hair loss?
In ‘Hair Like a Fox’ Danny Roddy talks about the bioenergetic view of pattern baldness and comes to the conclusion that getting adequate amounts of oxygen to the hair follicles is absolutely essential for their growth.
I agree, and it’s easy to see that many of the factors linked with pattern baldness are also, in some way linked to oxygen deficiency through lifestyle. For example, a sedentary lifestyle has been linked with male pattern baldness. Lack of exercise means you aren’t regularly flushing your lungs with oxygen, and exercise also reduces stress very effectively.
Urban dwellers also have higher incidences of pattern baldness than rural dwellers which could be from higher levels of pollution, more sedentary lifestyles and higher levels of stress.
If you live in a city you don’t need to freak out about this though (and get more stressed) because there are simple things that you can do to combat these effects that I will talk about later on in this article.
Oxygen and the dermal papilla
Dermal papilla cells must be in direct contact with the blood capillaries because the papilla is where the new hair follicles cells are made and consequently they need abundant amounts of nutrients and oxygen from the blood.
It’s crucially important to maintain good circulation to the hair follicles, so nutrients, oxygen and hormones can enable growth. Without them, or with restricted flow, the hair follicle growth phase becomes shorter and the resting phase becomes longer.
It also increases the miniaturization effect of DHT on the follicle.
Oxygen also helps to alkalise the blood, and carbon dioxide makes it more acidic. This is important because overly acidic blood in itself can lead to higher levels of hair loss.
What can you do to reduce your stress levels?
Many men are initially sceptical about how the heck breathing could prevent hair loss and aid in its regrowth. I don’t blame them, but once they see that just like smoking and air pollution can heavily contribute to hair loss, breath control is the immediate remedy and produces the opposite effect.
In Eastern literature breathing is the single most important aspect of health regimens.
Some rather more esoteric Eastern literature has linked shallow chest breathing with premature aging and baldness since breath drives ‘chee’ through the bodies ‘energy channels’ without which energy stagnation and insufficient blood circulation occurs.
This, it explains, can lead to the contraction of the hair follicles, restricting new hair and preventing thick and strong hair from growing.
Almost everyone nowadays takes breathing for granted and thereby fails to recognise its profound therapeutic effects and ability to rid the body of bioelectric imbalance.
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The most effective techniques to promote hair regrowth through enhanced blood circulation are described below.
This technique is called being breathed because it feels like the earth is breathing for you. The idea is to focus entirely on the exhalation stage of the breath cycle; this completely purges the lungs of stagnant and stale air providing a cleansing affect.
Start by contracting the lower abdominals, then move up past the navel to upper abdominals, lower and upper chest. Contract inwards, expelling as much air from the lungs as you can.
Once you’ve exhaled all the air, relax the muscles in the reverse order of exhalation, eg, starting with the upper chest and finishing with the lower abdominals.
Only make a little effort to inhale put focus primarily on relaxing and allowing the air pressure to breath for you. This is the opposite of how most people breathe normally, which leaves a continual volume of air in the lower regions of the lungs, where the alveoli are the most abundant.
Without full exhalation the majority of alveoli are exposed only to stale air which is lacking in oxygen and negative ions, but high in carbon dioxide and positive ions (which are the bad ones).
Thus, much more oxygen can be absorbed and carbon dioxide expelled if the lower abdominal region is used in breathing.
The overall affect is that carbon dioxide and other toxins are expelled from the blood at a much quicker rate, providing an instant cleansing feeling.
Unlike the ‘being breathed’ technique which is excellent for removing toxins and cleansing the bloodstream, ‘chee breathing’ focuses more on energising the system and maximising blood circulation.
It’s best to practice a bit of both. And whereas ‘being breathed’ emphasised exhalation, chee breathing is about inhalation, retention and exhalation.
For this exercise standing is best. Inhale slowly from the lower abdomen and into the chest and finally the clavicles. You want to fill the lungs to about 90% of maximum, but if it feels uncomfortable then you’ve gone too far.
Whilst inhaling try to visualize the airstream flowing through the nostrils (be sure to inhale through the nostrils to warm and moisten the air) deep into the lungs. As the lungs reach capacity sink a ‘bubble’ of air as far down into the lower abdomen as possible.
This basically means visualize the air sinking deep into the lungs where the most alveoli are. Retain the breath for 3-5 seconds but if you have to expel air quickly shorten the retention time until it’s comfortable.
Keep the breathing pattern smooth and rhythmic. The exhalation is very similar to the ‘being breathed’ technique. For added efficacy, raise the arms in an arc as wide as possible on inhalation and lower on exhalation whilst standing.
For the breathing techniques to affect hair regrowth they must be practised daily for at least a month. A combination of the two techniques each day for ten minutes will work wonders.
It will directly affect hair regrowth by massively increasing blood circulation throughout the scalp which helps to dilate and nourish hair follicles.
Indirectly, breathing corrects bioelectric imbalance, relieves stress by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, reduces autoimmune response from allergic reactions and stimulates the secretion of vital youthful hormones, all of which have been proved to reduce hair loss and promote new hair growth.
Oxygenation of the blood is also highly conducive to the alkalisation of the blood. Alkaline and oxygenated blood are found together, whereas acidic blood full of carbon dioxide also support one another.
Therefore practising breathing techniques will help to alkalis the blood, and from chapter 3 you will remember how important this is for stopping and reversing hair loss.
In urban areas where pollution and the number of damaging positive ions in the air are high, this exercise is particularly important.
Breath control = stress control
Another reason to perform this breathing exercise is to relieve stress. The connection between stress and hair loss is fairly well known, but most people fail to understand that breathing is the link that connects them.
Stress automatically causes shallow chest-breathing, just watch anyone who’s in a highly stressful situation to see how this is true. But for a lot of people and particularly those who suffer hair loss, the stress in on-going.
It doesn’t peak and then subside like it would in natural settings, which would provide therapeutic benefits, but is actually maintained at a high level by our modern lifestyles.
This is where the real damage is done because it leads to shallow chest breathing 24 hours a day, chronic oxygen deficiency and build-up of toxins and is heavily taxing on our hormonal system. So the remedy is obvious. Deep diaphragmatic breathing techniques practiced daily.
The best time to perform this exercise is upon rising in the morning or before bed time, but anytime at all is good.
He significantly reduced the blood pressure of the patients in his studies with this technique. I believe the same effect happens with hair loss because breathing exercises significantly reduce stress and thereby hair loss.
Performing ten minutes of this breathing exercise before bed not only endows the individual with countless health benefits but will also reduce the number of hours of sleep needed by one hour. That’s literally created ‘from thin air,’ excuse the pun, forty minutes extra per day, it’s a no-brainer.
Another important point to remember about relieving stress is that, ‘we unconsciously tense, so we must consciously relax.’ This means taking two minutes every day (before you fall asleep is ideal) to consciously relax every muscle in your body.
Start with the facial muscles and work your way down your body being conscious of relaxing each muscle in turn. I also have to remind myself every day not to worry about the things I have no control over, but to take action on the things I do.
Posture & Stress
Now, please allow me to get a little weird! The first time a heard about the following ideas in some esoteric eastern literature on yoga and tantra, I was skeptical as well, but the reality is the results speak for themselves.
Whether it’s weird or not is irrelevant to those who will do what it takes to get the results.
Look around you at your fellow men suffering from hair loss and you might start to notice that the majority of them have pretty poor posture. It might seem like they are ‘resting on their bones’ even when they’re standing, instead of using their core muscles to stand erect.
This ‘resting on their bones’ syndrome inevitably leads to very bad posture.
The spinal column becomes misaligned, and the core muscles atrophy. In yogic literature when the spinal column is bent out of shape the body’s bioelectric energy tends to stagnate, and associated problems arise.
When bioelectric energy stagnates and fails to reach the whole body, symptoms of illness start to appear.
When an animal is hurt or in danger, their entire body will tense up. A joke, that when someone is scared is to ‘assume the feutal position’ which is basically being cowered up in a ball.
Well the same thing happens in reverse. If your shoulders are hunched over, and your spine is bent, your body feels in protective mode. This makes us feel tense, and from tension comes stress.
Do you see how poor posture leads to stress on a physiological level?
For us, hair loss is our main concern, and so the upper spinal column is the most important area to focus on. When the upper spinal column is in proper alignment energy flows with ease up into the cranium providing ‘direct nourishment’ for the head and scalp.
I realize that might sound a bit wacky to most people who aren’t familiar with yoga and tantra, but it can be a powerful way to maximize the nourishing hormones and nutrients, etc. that travel to the scalp.
You may have spent a lot of time and energy optimizing other aspects of our body that it makes sense to make the most of all the hard work and make sure it’s all ‘flowing’ to where we want it to go.
We must therefore act to bring the spinal column back into its natural alignment to maximize the amount of ‘chi’, ‘energy’ or simply blood flowing into the scalp.
It requires a fairly long time to realign it because of the amount of time it took to get there, and requires daily ‘exercise’ or stretches to do so.
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