Can Holding Your Head Upside Down Help With Telogen Effluvium?

By: Ava Alderman:  I’ve heard from a couple of people who asked me if regularly holding their head upside down would help to slow their telogen effluvium.  To paraphrase their concern, they might say: “my grandmother told me that if you hold you head upside down for 20 minutes per day, it will stop hair loss.  I want to try this, but my grandmother also told me to brush my hair one hundred strokes per day with a boar hair brush.  That was a disaster.  Is the upside down theory even remotely true?”

The Low Down On Inversion Therapy For Hair Loss:  There is a form of therapy for hair loss called inversion therapy that some feel has helped their hair loss.  To my knowledge, there have never been true clinical studies that have tested this method against placebo and compared the results.  But, there was a book written about this topic and there are some testimonials saying that the practice did slow hair loss and encourage regrowth.

The idea behind this is that by inverting your head, you are bringing blood flow to your scalp.  It is also said that inversion helps the lymphatic system, which in turn helps with inflammation (which can also cause hair loss.) Increasing blood flow to the scalp is not new.  This is what topicals like rogaine seek to accomplish (as well as products like the laser comb.)  I can’t see any harm in inverting your head for short periods of time, but know that the book in which this is discussed recommends using an inversion table and  starting very slowly.

Understanding Changing Hair Cycles: Since telogen effluvium happens because something has made your hair cycles switch from growing to resting, I highly doubt that increasing blood flow is going to change the hair cycles.  This is just my opinion, but when I had chronic telogen effluvium I used the laser comb, rogaine, and scalp massage.  And although I think none of these things hurt in terms of hair regrowth, they did not stop my telogen effluvium.  I had to stop the trigger, combat inflammation, and then wait for the cycle to reset itself.  It’s always a great idea to do whatever you can to support healthy regrowth.  But getting the hair back to growing mode means removing the original trigger (or waiting for it to pass.)  I just do not see how inversion would accomplish this, unless your hair loss is due to severe stress and the inversion relaxes you enough to severely decrease the stress.  The bottom line is most things are worth a try as long as they aren’t damaging.  I am not a doctor, but I don’t think there’s any harm in trying this.  However, I would think that it would be more beneficial for regrowth than with stopping the loss.  You can read more about my experiences with hair loss and some things that helped at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/

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