While TikTok trends are hardly a novelty nowadays, the metrics of virality are as random as they get — is it the algorithm? The surprise of something entirely new, flashy, and often ridiculous? The efficacy of a proven technique? Old practices seem to be making a comeback — rubbing your nails for hair growth, for one. If you saw this trend and wondered whether it’s worth a try, we examine this ancient yogic practice in greater detail.
According to ancient yoga, the practice of rubbing your nails for hair growth is known as balayam.
It’s believed that this technique can increase blood flow to the scalp and prevent graying hair.
Unfortunately, the usefulness and validity of this practice has not yet received any scientific backing.
What is the yoga practice for hair growth?
Balayam is an ancient yoga practice thought to promote hair growth. The basis of this technique is the belief that the nerves and vessels in your nail bed are connected to the ones in your scalp. By gently rubbing your fingernails together, you enhance blood circulation. All of this leads to growing new hair and making existing hair stronger, thicker, and healthier.
Some practitioners also believe that this technique can help hair keep pigment and prevent it from turning gray.
How do you perform it?
The practice itself is straightforward and easy to follow.
- First, sit comfortably in a cross-legged position.
- Then, curl your fingers inward as if you were making a heart.
- Lastly, keep those thumbs up and gently rub your nails together.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this the whole day to reap the supposed benefits. The general estimate for this exercise is about 5–10 minutes. Ideally, it should be practiced twice a day.
What does science say?
There are no scientific studies to validate balayam's effectiveness, and this could stem from the practice being rooted in ancient yogic wisdom and other forms of alternative healing.
So far, the only evidence available is that hair and nails have a lot of similarities in their origin and development during the embryonic and fetal stages.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the practice of acupressure involves pressing or rubbing certain parts of the body to have an impact on other parts. Similarly, the nerve endings in the fingertips might connect to the scalp along the energy meridians.
Hence, the friction created by rubbing the fingernails could, in turn, lead to greater energy and greater blood circulation to the scalp. Think of it as if the scalp is getting massaged, though indirectly.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific data to support this theory, but there are favorable testimonials and wisdom of gurus practicing these ancient forms of healing.
There's no harm in trying balayam if you're open-minded or simply curious. However, it is best to remember that it's not a scientifically-proven method guaranteed to work.
The only side effect you should be prepared for is that your nails may lose their shine due to the constant friction.
Methods to boost hair growth
There are other remedies backed by science that can help you boost your hair growth. These include:
- Topical minoxidil — considered the gold standard for treating patterned hair loss.
- Increasing protein consumption in daily diet.
- Limiting the use of hair styling tools and harsh products.
- Daily gentle scalp massage.
- Correcting nutritional deficiencies.
If you're experiencing hair loss, assessing the type is equally important before you try any remedy. Consulting your dermatologist and getting evaluated is the first and the best step toward finding the root cause of your hair concerns and starting appropriate treatment accordingly.
How does balayam encourage hair growth?
It is believed that the nail bed has points, which, when stimulated, can increase the blood supply to the scalp and, in turn, result in hair growth.
Is rubbing your nails for hair growth scientifically approved?
There are no studies to conclusively prove that rubbing one's fingernails can lead to hair growth.