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Case Study Issue 72: Holistic Treatment of Hair Loss

by Jolanta Basnyet(more info)

listed in case studies, originally published in issue 72 - January 2002

"She was very tall, the glance of her eye most fierce; her voice harsh. A great mass of the reddest hair fell down to her hip."
- Dio Cassius on Bodicaea in Roman History

First Episode

Mrs L, a 54-year-old female, lost her hair for the very first time at the age of 24 – shortly after giving birth to her son. Her baldness was complete. She had to nurse her son in a state of shock. She felt socially inadequate and refused to go out. Before leaving the house, she would put on a wig and cover her head.

The situation continued for nearly a year. During that time, she had different tests conducted in hospital and at her local surgery. All tests pronounced her healthy and fit. The results of medical investigations did not uncover the reason for her baldness. She had gone through post-natal depression and the medical profession was baffled as to the explanation for her sudden, complete hair loss. Her hair started to grow 18 months later and she looked 'feminine' again on her son's second birthday.

Second Episode

The second episode of the recurrence of her hair loss took place after her mother's death ten years later. It was shocking for her to find one day that there had been considerable hair loss during the night and within one week she had become bald again. She had to come to terms with losing her mother, and found the hair loss at such great speed was too much to contend with. This time, Mrs L went through all the stages of medically diagnosed 'clinical depression'.

Mrs L was not progressing satisfactorily on medication for her clinical depression and she had to resign from work. Her son was a teenager at that time; his schoolwork started to decline and Mrs L began to encounter marital difficulties. The results of tests did not reveal any reasons for her condition and the medical profession could not offer any logical explanation.

After a 'horrible' three-year period, Mrs L started to notice a gradual new hair growth. She overcame her depressive state, came off the antidepressants with the co-operation of her GP and a hospital specialist, and nurtured a lovely head of hair on her son's 16th birthday.

Third Episode

Mrs L came to the clinic well into the third stage of her complete hair loss. She had been wearing a wig for over two years and accepted the fact that the hair might not come back at all this time. Her doctor and a hospital specialist put forward a very pessimistic prognosis regarding the natural hair re-growth. She was not happy about the situation, but she was not depressed.

Consultation

During my first consultation, I tried to pinpoint the chronological order of events. I explained the functioning of the endocrine system and Mrs L started to understand the state of a complete 'shut down' of the endocrine processes necessary for hair growth.

The initial palpation of her feet during reflexology treatment discovered painful areas in the pituitary reflex zones on both feet, a 'gritty' thyroid and parathyroids, quite uncomfortable adrenal reflexes on both feet and a very tender solar plexus reflex.

She asked me for advice and any other recommendations suitable in her particular case.

My recommendations were three-fold. I felt the management of treatment would need to take place in three stages, with three different aims.

Holistic Treatment: Complete Hair Loss

Stage 1 – Cleansing Stage

The cleansing stage was activated by the introduction of a herbal tisane. It contained herbs for the liver, kidneys and digestive system functions. Massage of the scalp at home once a day was also introduced, using massage oil with cleansing essential oils of Rosemary, Juniperberry and Cedarwood.

Two reflexology treatments were given over a period of two weeks.

Stage 2 – Stimulating Stage

The stimulating stage started when Mrs L announced that her mental attitude was very positive, her energy level had risen considerably and her skin and minor muscular discomfort had improved visibly (and the skin texture!). Here we introduced the use of our own hair tonic – a non-greasy lotion with essential oils of Nepalese Jatamansi, Juniperberry, Rosemary and Cedarwood.

Our residential homeopath prescribed homeopathic drops to help balance her endocrine system. She was drinking a herbal compound which contained herbs for strengthening the hair follicles and in effect stimulating hair re-growth. She received two relaxing aromatherapy treatments with Geranium, Clary Sage and Nepalese Jatamansi essential oils over the following two weeks.

Mrs L reported that she felt much more relaxed. During this stage of the treatment procedure, three white hairs started to grow so rapidly that after three weeks we had to arrange for a 'hairdressing session' at the clinic and performed a 'trim' in front of a mirror. Mrs L's hair was 1.5cm long! After such good background work, we decided to start the third stage of treatment.

Stage 3 – Growth Stage

The growth stage began with Indian head massage treatments, continuing with the application of our hair tonic lotion and a diet containing increased levels of silicon, iron and linoleic acid.

After only three weeks of the third stage of our treatment management, a very fine layer of hair started to cover the scalp in small patches of visible hairs of about 20 to 30 hairs to a clump. These were growing and multiplying with great vigour so that by the twelfth week of treatment they had established themselves firmly in the scalp.

After a further four months, we started to alternate her treatments between aromatherapy, Indian head massage and reflexology sessions on a fortnightly basis. She regularly used her herbal tisane at home and applied our hair tonic lotion twice daily, every day. She restructured her daily diet and applied our hair massage oil with agreed regularity. The routine was regimental for a while, but it paid off in the long term.

The above package seemed to have worked well for her and soon enough she was able to discard her wigs and present her head full of hair to the world.

Further Reading

Rook A and Dawber RPR. Diseases of the Hair and Scalp. Blackwell Scientific Press. Oxford. 1991. MAFF Report 1994.
Rushton DH. Management of Hair Loss in Women. In Dermatologic Clinics, Dermatologist Therapy. Eds. Maddin S and McLean DI, WB Saunders, Philadelphia USA. 11: 47-53. 1993.
Ramsay ID. A Synopsis of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 3rd ed. Bristol. Wright. 1986.

Comments:

  1. ANTHONIA said..

    That was a tremendous work done on mrs L. Thanks to your professional and experience skill employed.

    I shall consider it a rare priviledge if given the opportunity to be treated of my Alopecia which comes and go off on regular bases.

    I often give myself treatment on reflexology, and have since noticed a gradual improvement.


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About Jolanta Basnyet

Jolanta Basnyet BA(Hons), BSc, MFO, DO, MGO(Lon), ITEC, C&GTC, MAR, is a fully qualified osteopath, aromatherapist, reflexologist and a body worker with the practical knowledge of Reiki therapy. She practises in her own multi-disciplinary health clinic in Preston. She also trains practitioners in the field of body massage, aromatherapy and reflexology in her private training establishment Lancashire Holistic College. Jolanta takes part in radio programmes on contemporary health issues and is a Chairperson of the British Massage Therapy Council, a national organisation with its minimum Core Syllabus for body massage training in the U.K. Jolanta embarked on her second degree course at the University of Central Lancashire and this year successfully finished her degree in Complementary Medicine course. She decided to conduct a pilot study in aromatherapy for her final dissertation. Her findings and comments on the preparation of this project may be of interest to many practitioners of natural therapies, whose practical skills and financial resources would enable them to proceed with such a project without any external financial support.

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