Beauty parlour stroke: What triggers stroke during hair wash at salon; how to prevent it

A hair wash session at a beauty salon may sound like the ideal way to unwind after a long week, but a recent trip to a salon left an indelible mark on a 50-year-old woman who suffered a stroke during her hair wash before a haircut.

Doctors call it beauty parlour stroke syndrome 

As per experts, the woman suffered a stroke because a key vessel supplying blood to the brain was pressed when she bent back her neck for the wash.

It occurs when the masseur applies firm pressure to the neck and head, occasionally twisting the neck to produce a cracking sound. As a result, tender vessels get injured. Typical symptoms include dizziness, nausea, and vomiting, among others. The woman, like many stroke patients, has been prescribed lifelong medication.

What is Beauty Parlour Stroke Syndrome?

The term “beauty parlour stroke syndrome” was termed after it was first reported in 1993 in the US. It is a rare condition that could happen through any procedure or manipulation of the neck next to the arteries.

The neck has two major arteries, two in the front and two in the back. The back arteries, known as vertebral arteries, pass through the cervical vertebrae or cervical bone. A neck manipulation where the neck is hyperextended and sustained for a period could cause a tear in the arteries and result in a clot formation, interrupting the blood supply to the brain and leading to a stroke.

It is uncommon in healthy persons, but those with bone structure alterations may have a damaged artery when their neck is held in a hyperextended position.

How Does It Get Triggered?

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is blocked or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. However, a pre-existing disease in the artery, known as atherosclerosis, triggers the beauty parlour stroke syndrome.

Atherosclerosis is the buildup of fatty acid substances called plaque or atheroma, which can cause arteries to narrow, cutting off blood flow. The plaque can also rupture, causing a blood clot. Normal arteries, even when squeezed hard, will not be injured unless the pressure is excessive.

Should People Avoid Hair Wash At Salons Altogether? 

Hair washing, vigorous neck massage, hair transplant performed by someone not technically qualified, chin raising, and cosmetic treatment could all result in a stroke at the salon. Salon employees must be medically trained. If a person has hypertension or another underlying health concern, they should inform the salon personnel and avoid procedures that may aggravate any underlying health issues.

People who want to pamper themselves with a hair wash should not extend their neck more than 20 degrees. During the head wash, it is also advised to retain a rolled towel at the nape of the neck.


  1. Woman suffers ‘beauty parlour stroke’ during head bath before taking haircut in Hyderabad salon. Available at:
  2. Hyderabad woman suffers rare stroke after hair wash in salon: All about this bizarre syndrome. Available at:
  3. Kuriakose D, Xiao Z. Pathophysiology and treatment of stroke: present status and future perspectives. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Oct 15;21(20):7609.
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