Unless you were living in another planet, I am certain you heard about Samson, the strongman the Bible teaches became powerless when his wife Delilah treacherously cut his hair, implying his mane was the source of his strength. A study of the Scriptures will reveal that his hair has nothing to do with it. His miraculous strength came from God’s presence and power. Skeptics and non-believers prefer to listen to Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundalini Yoga to America, who stated that, as modern men, “we are depriving ourselves of one of the most valuable sources of energy for human vitality.” Later on, he said, “when your hair is allowed to attain its full, mature length,” it produces a mix of chemical components that create “more efficient memory, greater physical energy, improved stamina, and patience.” And then, he concludes: “Your hair is not there by mistake, it has a definite purpose, which saints will discover and other men will laugh at it.” It is evident that Mr. Bhajan’s knowledge of biology and chemistry is extremely limited. The most basic observation of human hair will evidence that his assertions are demonstrably false. By observing a hair cross section microscopically, we will see that it is made of solid keratin, a solid slab of dead cells which could not channel any of the nutrients he described. Likewise, there are no structures capable of any chemical activity.
Some other believers opine that Samson was born with a genetic defect, a hair mutation if you will, that gave him the ability to perform with superhuman strength. For Bible’s faithful interpreters, his power originated from his consecration to God’s services through the Nazarite vow. The Nazarites vow that, since birth and until they die, they will never cut their hair. Today, for some cultures tradition mandates that they never cut their hair. Among them, there are some Christian groups that maintain their hair uncut in deference to their biblical interpretations of some religious covenants. Their interpretation of the Book tells them that hair length has a physical consequence that could be directly related to their health, strength, and talents. It is the same with Orthodox Jewish men and many Native Americans who never cut their hair.
Among some popular urban legends, there is one that tells how the United States military establishment incapacitated Native Americans trackers, recruited during the Vietnam War, by giving them military haircuts. Immediately after they got their haircut they lost their ability to track and became useless to the war effort. It is said that the US military performed tests to confirm that only trackers whose hair wasn’t cut were able to track. They then decided to exempt trackers from having regulation haircuts. I did not find evidence of these or any other tests. Another one of those legends affirms that, after three years, uncut hairs develop the ability to collect cosmic energy which gives us a powerful magnetic personality. There is no foundation, biblical or otherwise, to validate these assertions, so they remain legends.
Following on the Bible’s teachings about Samson’s superhuman strength, we have to keep in mind Samson’s origins. He was a son to childless parents (Judges 13:2) commanded by God to raise him as a Nazarite, or one who will never cut his head hair (Judges 5&7) until the time when he would lead a revolt to free the Israelites from Philistine slavery (Judges 13:1&5). The adult Samson developed an unusual strength that he used to fight against the Philistines’ tyrants while serving as one of Israel’s Judges. If we accept that Samson’s (a Nazarite) uncut hair was the source of his strength, how come that other Nazarites did not possess the same abilities? The Bible teaches that Samuel and John the Baptist, like Samson, were Nazarites from birth (1 Samuel 1:11, Luke 1:15); however, neither man showed superhuman strength.
Angered and frustrated by their inability to defeat Samson, the Philistines paid Samson’s wife – Delilah – a hefty sum of money to cut his mane. At an intimate moment, Samson told Delilah that his hair was his strength and, if cut, his strength will vanish. While he slept, she brought a man who shaved off the seven locks of his head (Judges 16:17-19). He became very weak and feeble, as if his hair was the source of his super power. Taking advantage of his weak status, the Philistines took, seized and tortured him. He couldn’t save himself and became a prisoner of the Philistines (Judges 16:20-21). During his imprisonment by the Philistines, his hair grew back (Judges 16:22). He also repented of what he had done.
His last prayer, uttered while being forced to entertain a group of Philistines court members and soldiers, is a testimony to God as the real source of his power. Judge for yourself: “O, Lord God, remember me, I pray You, strengthen me, I pray You, only this once, O God, so that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes” (Judges 16:28). It is evident that this prayer would not be necessary if his grown back hair was the source of his power. In my opinion, Samson recognized that his physical power came from His Lord, not from his hair. The pain and humiliation he suffered while enslaved by the Philistines made him ask God that his gift be restores to him. His prayer was honored by His Lord, who allowed Samson to die serving Him.
There is no question, our hair is a very important part of our sensory systems because the root of the follicle is very sensitive; the hair itself is not. Many experiments on hair sensitivity proved that longer hair does not give the person a sensory advantage. Some cultures assign mystical powers to long hair, particularly those who seek an alternative to Christianity. Most of the followers of mysticism do not claim that hair length gives them any advantage, much less Samson-like ones. To religious authorities on these traditions, the most common origin of the practices is the desire to distinguish themselves from other ethnic groups. None of these groups claim that growing their hair gives them any tangible benefit.
To conclude, people who want to grow and have long hair feel better about themselves without regards to getting any strength at all. There are no physiological reasons to believe that long hair makes you stronger; hair does not conduct minerals, vitamins, cosmic rays, solar power or anything else.