Does Long Hair Give You Power? Links Between Science and Legends
Everything in a human body has a purpose thus it is no coincidence that hair on the head grows longer than anywhere else on the body. The hair on the head grows long because it is programmed that way in our DNA, but why? Long hair both keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in humid and hot weather. Legends, however, speak of hair bringing people increased intuitive abilities and power, some calling them “superpower.” Today’s science may provide a clue about why that is.
The History of Long Hair
Historically in ancient Greece, men of influence including warriors kept their hair long to symbolize their power, while making the slaves shave their heads. Greek ideal for a man was a “bearded, long-haired philosopher.” Many of their gods and heroes also had long hair.
Christian Europeans in the Middle Ages held a similar belief. Long hair signified wealth and power, while shorter hair was worn by servants. Vikings also often kept long hair (though theirs was long on the top of the head, and short in the back—a sort of reverse mullet).
Kurt Stenn of the University of Pennsylvania, the author of “Hair: a Human History,” says that hair communicates a lot of messages to others such as the person’s health (you have to be healthy to grow long hair), religious beliefs, and power.
Long hair on men was not just an European phenomenon. In North America Aztec priests grew long hair and left it completely untouched.
Native Americans kept their hair long until the arrival of the Europeans. There was a lot of pressure from those arrived to cut hair short in order to look what they thought was “more civilized.” However, since the 1960’s many have went back to their cultural roots and long hair.
All of these cultures who kept long hair held similar belies that it made them more powerful or made them look more powerful.
Native Americans also believed that long hair connects the person to nature, Spirit, and the consciousness of life. They also said it helped them have extrasensory perception.
Long Hair Gives You Superpowers?
The most commonly known tale of long hair being connected to superhuman abilities is the biblical one of Samson. When his hair was cut through an order by a lover who betrayed him, he lost all of his strength.
The second most discussed information is of Native Americans who are said to have lost their power after their hair was forcefully removed in the American Army during the Vietnam war.
This increased “power” have been documented in science. The Kirlian photography technique discovered by Russian inventor Semyon Kirlian in 1939 have also been able to capture a bigger energetic or electrophotonic field coming from long hair than short hair.
When it comes to scientific studies hair in general has been found to receive and send information from the head to the body and vice versa. Some call it being connected to the nervous system. While hair itself does not have nerves, hair follicles are surrounded by root hair plexus which are nerve fiber endings.
The Science of Long Hair
Hair’s connection to the nervous system has been studied by neuroscience, the study of nervous system and the brain. A 2012 study on mice from Johns Hopkins University of Medicine showed that cells that grow at the bottom of each hair follicle collect information and send it to the brain.
Hair can send information about the weather, an emotional state when hair stands up from fear, or presence of an outside force like almost bumping into an object. Long hair can keep you balance your body temperature; and it promotes scalp health.
Whether your reasons for keeping your hair long are spiritual or heath-minded, it can be a great symbol to self-expression. There are no negative effects to keeping hair long, so grow it out if it makes you feel good—there may be still undiscovered reasons why that is.