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Intense Scalp Itching

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Intense Scalp Itching
Answer
1/13/14 9:37 AM
Hi Everyone,

Hope all's well.

Ever since I started Vipassana around 2 years ago, I have had constant itchiness going on in my scalp area that sometimes becomes very intense, especially when I am on retreat.

It causes an assortment of problems such as dandruff, dryness and general discomfort but is livable in general so I was ignoring it until now. I always thought it will take care of itself in time. The symptom is always there regardless of how much I meditate. Cold water helps alleviate the issue temporarily.

I wonder if anyone else has had something similar coming up and how they have dealt with it.

Thanks,

SN

RE: Intense Scalp Itching
Answer
1/13/14 1:07 PM as a reply to Sweet Nothing.
You'll need to massage a good conditioner into your scalp every time you bathe, and let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing it out. If you're going to wash your hair during that bath, then do so before applying the conditioner. Even if you aren't going to shampoo, you should still condition.

A tea tree oil or dandruff conditioner may work better. If that's still not strong enough, then the most powerful combination is dandruff shampoo AND highly moisturizing conditioner that you've added tea tree oil to. (A good ratio is about 1 tablespoon oil for a small container of conditioner, 2 tbsp for a medium sized container, and 3 tbsp for one of those giant Sams Club conditioner bottles.)

There's no reason to assume that this has anything to do with vipassana; it's simple dry scalp and dandruff.

Reasons it gets worse on retreat:
1. Your awareness is sharper, causing you to perceive the itching more strongly.
2. Your bathing habits may change on a retreat away from home.
3. If you go to a place that's colder, windier, or drier, any of those weather conditions would aggravate any dry skin on your body, including on the scalp. I bet it's worse in the winter than in the summer, even when you aren't on retreat.

RE: Intense Scalp Itching
Answer
1/14/14 12:20 PM as a reply to J Adam G.
On my second retreat, itchy boils had erupted all over my scalp by the second day and they subsided by themselves on the 10th day. It is probably due to stress or something. I read that when this kind of work is going on, there is a "kick" in the subconscious mind that can result in these physical manifestations. It gets very severe by 7th or 8th day and then comes down.

Regardless of whatever the cause might be, there's no harm in trying the cures.

Thanks for your input, Adam. Things have been better since I started the thread.