Do you wake up with hair on your pillow? When you brush your hair or run your hands through it, are you left with horrifying chunks of hair dangling between your fingers? Do you want your hair back once again?
If so, keep reading to discover how a holistic approach may be able help you the way it helped me and many others.
~~~A short note on the subject of hair~~~
What it is and how it grows: Hair is made of a hardened protein called keratin, and the hair on your head normally falls out at a rate of 50-100 strands per day. From start to finish, the hair on your head begins with the anagen phase, which consists of active growth and division at the root. This stage lasts from two to seven years and is largely determined by genetics. If your anagen phase is long, so will grow your hair. Next, the catagen phase, which transitions your hair to the telogen phase, lasts two-three weeks. Finally, the telogen phase lasts two to four months and this is when your hair is at is full length while subsequent growth has started anew beneath it. (If you are a science nerd, take a look at the video in this article here).
When hair falls out: Hair loss can be caused by hormones, genetics, age, hairstyles that pull on your hair, and from stress, shock, and/or illness. For those who have experienced considerable distress followed by the threaten of baldness (including the ubiquitous COVID19-related hair loss), your plight may be attributed to what is called telogen effluvium, or hair loss due to illness, stress, or shock. During the telogen phase, your hair no longer rests in its normal glory for a few months until it’s time to renew the cycle. Nope. Instead, your poor hair falls from your scalp like leaves in autumn. Allopathic medicine says that it will usually clear up in a few months, but that’s a long time to wait if you’re used to having beautiful hair and you don’t know whether or not your stress will be resolved any time soon anyway.
Which brings me to…
I have always had long, curly hair. Cute anecdote: when I was little, my grandmother used to say “Eat your bread crusts so that you will have curly hair.” This is a folk belief, but I was a credulous child and I loved my hair. I ate all my bread crusts, even though I didn’t like them much, to ensure that my hair would always be the same. And though it doesn’t have anything to do with bread crusts, I have always had long, curly hair and I always will.
Even when I am a venerable woman, I will keep my long hair and I will pull it up in a bun like any other Mediterranean elder. My beautiful hair is my pride and joy.
So what happened to my hair, and how can I help you?
That’s a long story but the short version is this: I went through a period of time that was marked by one tragedy after the next. Shocks, losses, and painful plot twists, one after another. The coup de grâce came from an attempted break-in of the hotel room where I was staying during what was supposed to be a soul-soothing vacation. (Note to all readers: when you are in a hotel, use the security latch ALWAYS. If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here writing this now).
TL/DR? My hair started to fall out in handfuls. I’d wake up in the morning with hair on my pillow. I’d try to tidy my hair and WADS would come out in big, sob-inducing chunks. I finally had to cut my hair off because what was left was thin, frizzy, and heartbreakingly ugly.
Traditional Chinese medicine saved my hair and when I read the recent stories of hair loss, I knew that I needed to share my own story of hair redemption. If I could do it, it’s possible for you, too. There is hope for you and your hair.
~~~A Western Medicine Approach~~~
Your MD will probably tell you the same thing that any naturopath or an acupuncturist will tell you: eat nutritious food, take supplements, get good sleep, use topical treatments on your hair, and be patient. Hair will usually come back following loss due to telogen effluvium after about six months or so. Your MD might also prescribe Minoxidil (also known as Rogaine) to you. Good enough, but (and especially if your system is already debilitated from crushing stress or illness), it’s worth noting that there can be some nasty side effects from Minoxidil. (Scroll down to the “for healthcare professionals” section for statistics on side effects here; while the percentages themselves are not necessarily huge, the descriptions of cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and sensitivity reactions may give you a pause).
Also, unless your doctor knows what it’s like to lose their hair, they might not understand that it’s not reassuring to hear that “it will probably grow back in about three to six months.” What happens if your extreme stress lingers? Do you really want to waste six months hoping that your hair comes back eventually?
~~~My Method of Hair Regrowth~~~
Each patient is different and the consultation is the first step. Someone with stress-induced hair loss is different from someone with, say, pattern baldness (which also can be helped by acupuncture and herbs, albeit with a different strategy and approach). The initial consult gives a big picture of you that guides individualized treatment principles.
Guidance regarding the right supplements for you and your unique needs are part of the package.
Nutritional therapy and topical formulas to put on your hair and scalp are key to successfully resolving hair loss. (Having a best friend with small children who are fascinated by your hair and excited to help massage oil into your roots is optimal but not necessary).
Acupuncture to renew circulation to the scalp and to boost immunity and resolve stress are part of the program (No, it doesn’t hurt and yes, it really helps).
Herbal formulas chosen specifically for you and your unique presentation are crucial. My acupuncturist at the time prescribed a classic formula for hair loss and that worked wonders for me. As a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, I set my hair health patients up with a selection of herbs that will work for them in their specific situation. Everyone is different. Curly hair, especially if it’s ethnic hair, requires specific knowledge and approaches; straight hair, for its part, also needs its own treatment strategy. An individualized protocol based on centuries-old traditions makes all the difference.
You don’t have to remain helpless as you watch your hair become increasingly sparse.
I know how you feel and I want to help you. You do not need to suffer the misery of hair loss without a healing strategy to guide you.
Just waiting around for your hair to come back and hoping that it does is not beneficial.
NOW is the time to take a look at your overall health and use the inspiration of wanting healthy hair to make changes in your wellbeing that can serve you for the rest of your life. Your health is your greatest wealth, don’t you agree?
It’s not that hard when you know what to do and you have the right expert guidance.
If you’re local to Austin, Texas, that’s great and I am seeing patients in my office. Come see me and let’s get you started! If you’re not in Austin? Not to worry! I can still offer phone consultations that include education and other useful support that remains within my scope of practice as a certified health coach.
Whatever you do, do not give up hope. No, there is no overnight fix and yes, it does take some effort on your part. But there are ways to nurture your wellbeing with the holistic healthcare that supports your hair and nourishes mind, body, and spirit. Chinese medicine is so good for this that it actually even was one of the reasons I chose to practice acupuncture as my second career. No kidding!
You don’t need to switch careers and become an acupuncturist to learn how to resolve your hair loss. Instead, book online or reach out to me here. Let me support you with holistic wellness protocols that worked for me and that–modified to address you and your unique presentation–can work for you, too.
There is hope. You can do this!
Paula Bruno, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, an AOBTA-CP traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, and a wellness educator. She maintains an active and growing practice at her Austin, TX offices. Dr. Bruno is also available for distance appointments for wellness consultation or coaching.
In her first career, she was a Spanish professor.
Dr. Bruno’s specialties as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner include: • Musculoskeletal health (acute or chronic pain relief; Ehlers Danlos syndrome & hypermobility support) • Digestive support, gut health, and weight loss • Aesthetic treatment, including scar revision • Men’s health • General preventative care and immune support for all persons.
When you are ready to discover what traditional medicine plus a vibrant and engaged approach to holistic health can do for you, either contact Dr. Bruno or book an appointment online.
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Note: Material on this web site site is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease, illness, or ailment. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness. Material on this web site does not purport to identify syndrome patterns.