Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Discussions on how to do facial exercises and what these exercises might accomplish.
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Fred
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:58 am

Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Fred » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:50 am

Tom,

I have been reviewing several studies that shines a light on what causes hair loss. It's as expected, always a bit more complex. Anyway, I am very curious to get your opinion on a theory on your scalp exercise, which I think aligns a lot with what we know today.

The following is a comment made by Robert English who runs https://perfecthairhealth.com/

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I believe Tom Hagerty’s exercises can improve AGA outcomes, but not for the reasons he ascribes on his website.

Tom Hagerty suggests that his alternation exercises (done for 5-20 minutes per day) help strengthen the scalp perimeter muscles and, during their engagement, improve blood flow to the scalp… thereby improving hair loss. These exercises have anecdotally helped a lot of people, but my issues with this mechanistic explanation are that the effects of improved blood flow are likely too short-lived to have any measurable impact on our hair.

Take minoxidil, for example. One of its suspected mechanisms is improved blood flow. Minoxidil’s half-life is 22 hours, and it’s recommended to be applied twice-daily so that its effect is constantly happening. Now compare this to the Tom Hagerty exercises: 5-20 minutes of improved blood flow… maybe some lingering effects 10-20 minutes after the exercise. It just doesn’t seem to add up that this mechanism alone would explain its helpfulness for our hair.

Now think of something else the Tom Hagerty exercises do. Over a series of months, they teach us to become aware of our scalp perimeter muscles, and specifically, how to relax them when we’re not doing the exercises. Almost anyone who’s tried the Tom Hagerty exercises for a series of months reports that their scalp feels more relaxed during their time away from the exercises, and that they have better control over these muscle groups. In this case, the anecdotes of the exercises make sense – because the relaxation of these muscles sustains improved blood flow for much longer than the actual exercise intervals.

Long-story short: it’s likely not that the TH exercises engage these muscles and thereby improve blood flow to the scalp and thereby improve our hair loss. Rather, it’s likely that the TH exercises teach us how to control these muscles and intuitively relax them outside of the exercises… leading to more sustained blood flow improvements and thereby better hair.
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Thank you, Tom!

Regards, Fred

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Tom Hagerty » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:55 pm

Fred, I'm glad that you posted some of the thinking of Robert English. I agree with him but I'd like to add some information in order to clarify my ideas. Tomorrow I'm going to write an article and post it here. It's too bad you did not post your message on my hairloss is reversible site. I'll try to post it there tomorrow. I'm going to play Scrabble right now.

Fred
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:58 am

Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Fred » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:25 am

Tom,
Interesting!

Btw, Sorry, my intention was to post on the "hairloss is reversible" site, but I couldn't locate my old password and username (i used to post there many years ago). So the next best thing was to post it here! :)

Good luck with the Scrabble!

Fred

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Tom Hagerty » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:31 pm

I was not aware of https://perfecthairhealth.com It's a valuable website, full of solid information written by someone who has studied in depth many aspects of hair growth and hair loss. I like Robert English's use of "perimeter muscles." It's a lot more user-friendly than occipitalis and frontalis. But I'd like to discuss increased blood flow as it related to the alternating contraction of these muscles.

I wrote on my website that, "The supply of blood to a contracting muscle is ten times greater than normal." I got this exact wording from several (perhaps only two) college biology textbooks. Bodybuilders, of which I'm still one, call this increased blood flow "the pump." I don't know if this "ten times greater than normal" is a good approximation or not, but it seems reasonable. I think though that exercise strengthens the blood vessels in the muscles that are exercised. These more robust blood vessels don't just return to their pre-exercise state upon lack of exercise. I wish I could give you a list of well-conducted studies that document my unscientific feeling about this.

In other words, I think that blood vessels in exercised muscle are healthier and stronger than blood vessels in unexercised muscle areas. Of course the ten times greater only occurs when the muscles are contracting vigorously. I don't think that Robert English and I have much of a disagreement over this issue. I say this because after reading much of his writing I gather that he is not dogmatic, and neither am I.

One thing that does bother me, though, is how the scalp exercise is done by at least half the people who do it. Many men have sent me videos of themselves doing the exercise. I noticed that at least half the men are not contracting their occipitalis muscles at the back of the head. They are just contracting their frontalis muscles. I realize that it is difficult to gain control over the occips, but if these muscles are not alternately contracted with the muscles at the front of the head, the scalp exercise is not being done right.

Thanks for posting your message. I'm going to try now to paste a duplicate of your message on the www.hairloss-reversible.com/phpbb3/.

Nonie
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:24 am

Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Nonie » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:45 pm

Fred, this is a very interesting topic you started, and thanks for the link to Perfect Hair Health. (I am kind of glad you forgot your password to the hair site and posted here instead because I might have otherwise missed this great discussion! :D )

I have to say that I agree with Tom that it is more than just the trained "relaxation" that leads to increased blood flow. Exercise has been shown to cause capillarization, which is the formation/development of a network of new capillaries. This increased density of capillaries allows for more blood flow to the muscles that get exercised; and that in turn leads to increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients as well as removal of waste from the cells within the muscle. Capillarization does not just happen in aerobic workouts but has been shown to happen in slow non-aerobic workouts like Pilates, Yoga or passive workouts like leg extensions on a machine. (1, 2, 3, 4.)

Fred
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Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Fred » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:11 am

Nonie and Tom,

Pardon me for posting here again! :)

I too agree that it's not only trained relaxation that is generated by the scalp exercise, also possibly angiogenesis as one example. By the way, I think the "the supply of blood to a contracting muscle is ten times greater than normal" argument should be a bit remodeled since muscle doesn't cover the top of the scalp.
  
Anyway, what I'm saying is that the picture is incomplete. Research shows that balding scalps often have tighter scalp tissues and that this tension tends to align with the pattern of AGA. Men and women have somewhat different patterns,  where women have similar to a diffuse thinning pattern.

Dr. Brian Freund demonstrated that botox injections in chronically contracted scalp muscles increased hair counts by 18%. Other studies have confirmed the same.

Targeting scalp tension improves hair in both men and women!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21042071
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs ... /dth.12785
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs ... .tb01632.x

Regards, Fred

Tom Hagerty
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Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Tom Hagerty » Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:44 pm

Capillaries in subcutaneous layer
Capillaries in subcutaneous layer
Skin layers.jpg (10.49 KiB) Viewed 112 times
Fred, you said that muscle doesn't cover the top of the scalp. That of course is true. But there is still blood flow in the crown area. Look at this drawing of the skin. You'll see in the subcutaneous layer (beneath the epidermis and the dermis) there are capillaries. My unscientific opinion is that these capillaries are more productive in a flexible scalp than in a tight scalp. The scalp exercise keeps the whole scalp pliable; not just the area of the scalp over the scalp muscles. Scalps that are tight probably have capillaries that produce a restricted blood flow and restricted lymph flow too. I wish I had some proof of that.

Nonie, you wrote, "Exercise has been shown to cause capillarization, which is the formation/development of a network of new capillaries. This increased density of capillaries allows for more blood flow to the muscles that get exercised; and that in turn leads to increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients as well as removal of waste from the cells within the muscle."

I don't think there is much capillarization (a good word) in a tight scalp. And I see many tight scalps in the shaved heads of the guys who work out at the LA FITNESS gym. If I were a crusader I'd tell them about the scalp exercise. But I'm not going to tell a man who is dead lifting 600 pounds that he had better exercise his scalp muscles.

600 pounds!
600 pounds!
Deadlift.jpg (9.53 KiB) Viewed 109 times

Thanks for all your messages.

Nonie
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 8:24 am

Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise 

Post by Nonie » Sat Nov 23, 2019 3:27 pm

Tom Hagerty wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:44 pm

Nonie, you wrote, "Exercise has been shown to cause capillarization, which is the formation/development of a network of new capillaries. This increased density of capillaries allows for more blood flow to the muscles that get exercised; and that in turn leads to increased delivery of oxygen and nutrients as well as removal of waste from the cells within the muscle."

I don't think there is much capillarization (a good word) in a tight scalp. And I see many tight scalps in the shaved heads of the guys who work out at the LA FITNESS gym. If I were a crusader I'd tell them about the scalp exercise. But I'm not going to tell a man who is dead lifting 600 pounds that he had better exercise his scalp muscles.
Deadlift.jpg

Thanks for all your messages.
Tom, capillarization occurs in exercised areas. A tight scalp IMO is one that has not been moved at all--not with massage or scalp exercise. And therefore, there would, of course, be no capillarization in scalps of men who work their whole bodies out but not their scalps. I am sure there is plenty of it though in all the area where they focus all their exercise. ;) So you emphasize my point, which was that scalp exercise does more than just relax muscles:it also increases blood flow by triggering capillarization in the area that is exercised, in this case, the scalp.

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