Monday, May 23, 2011

Moon Madness

For thousands of years, people have looked to the planets and stars for guidance. Queen
Elizabeth I consulted an astrologer when determining the best date for her coronation, while average folk planned their everyday activities around astral projections. These included farming, starting a business, and even cutting hair to promote growth.

“Cutting by the phases of the moon” is an astrological practice that continues to this day. Hair care experts like Anthony Morrocco and Dr. George Michael believe in the moon's effect on hair growth and promote the information to their clients.

In his book, George Michael's Secrets For Beautiful Hair (Doubleday, 1981), Dr. Michael wrote:

“The moon has a magnetic influence on hair just as it does on the tides. During the first quarter of the moon, a person on earth has an extremely opposite electrical pull to the moon itself.. Electric static goes through the body, through the hair, and becomes immersed into the atmosphere. The hair actually serves as a conductor of electricity, and breakage and splitting are minimized.”

New Age publishers Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. puts out a Moon Sign Book each year with instructions on using the moon's phases. In their 2006 edition, Llewellyn states, “Time and experience have proved that anything started when the Moon is weak by sign and aspect is unlikely to prosper.” This includes hair growth, according to Llewellyn:

"For faster growth, cut hair when the Moon is increasing in Cancer or Pisces. To make hair grow thicker, cut when the Moon is full in the signs of Taurus, Cancer, or Leo.”

Llewellyn also says the moon affects the outcome of chemical processes:
“Permanents, straightening, and hair coloring will take well if the Moon is in Taurus or Leo and trine or sextile Venus. Avoid hair treatments if Mars is marked as square or in opposition, especially if heat is to be used. . .”

Is there any truth to the theory that the moon affects our body systems including hair growth? Scientists and scholars are divided.

A psychiatrist named Dr. Arnold L. Lieber published a book in 1978 called The Lunar Effect: Biological Tides and Human Emotions. (The book was revised in 1996 and is titled How The Moon Affects You.) Lieber's book centers around what he calls his “biological tides theory,” which states that the moon is responsible for causing tides in all bodies of water. Since the human body is 80% water, the moon's pull affects us as well.

Another learned individual, Marilyn vos Savant, agrees that the moon affects the human body just as it controls the ocean tides. Savant is considered to have the highest I.Q. on record and writes a magazine column, Ask Marilyn, in which she wrote,
“There are tides everywhere on Earth, including not just oceans and lakes but also the ground we stand on and the atmosphere we breathe. If you stood long enough, there would even be tides in your tummy.” (Parade Magazine, Jan. 8, 1995).

But many in the scientific community consider these theories to be “bad physics.” In his paper, Myths About Gravity and Tides, physicist Mikolaj Sawicki states,
“. . .tidal effects on small bodies of water the size of a reader's tummy. . .is negligible and therefore impossible to observe.” Sawicki even provides physics calculations to prove his point.

On his Web site,, Sacramento City College Professor Robert Todd Carroll states, “The fact that the human body is mostly water largely contributes to the notion that the moon should have a powerful effect on the human body. . . It is claimed by many that the earth and the human body both are 80% water. This is false. Eighty percent of the surface of the earth is water. Furthermore, the moon only affects unbounded bodies of water, while the water in the human body is bounded.”

Psychology professor James Rotton of Florida International University, cites a scientific article about the moon's effects to disprove the “biological tides” theory:
“In a cogent review that appeared in the Spring 1979 Skeptical Inquirer, astronomer George O. Abell pointed out that the moon's gravitational pull was less than the weight of a mosquito. Two of my colleagues, Roger Culver and Roger Ianna, subsequently showed that the moon's 'pull' was less than that of a wall of a building six inches away.”

Rotton was part of a research team including professors Ivan Kelly and Roger Culver who published a paper about the moon in 1996. They examined more than 100 studies on lunar effects and concluded that there was no correlation between moon phases and psychiatric or physiologic changes in the human body.

Unfortunately, no one has published a study specifically on the moon's possible effect on hair growth. If you believe the studies that say the moon does not affect our physiology, then you probably don't believe that it helps or hinders hair growth. However, if you believe that further study is needed to prove or disprove the theory, you may well decide to follow the phases of the moon in your quest for healthy hair.

For the best dates to care for your hair according to the moon's phases, visit

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