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How long do scalp muscles stay pumped?

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:52 pm
by Tom Hagerty
Fred posted this message on my shapeyourface (facial exercise) forum because he couldn't find his login credentials for this forum. 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

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.

Thank you, Tom!

Re: How long do scalp muscles stay pumped?

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:09 pm
by Tom Hagerty
Re: Potential reasons for the efficiency of the scalp exercise

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.

by Fred » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:25 am

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!


Re: How long do scalp muscles stay pumped?

Posted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:12 pm
by Tom Hagerty
I was not aware of 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 hairloss-reversible forum.