Clockwise rubbing is a maintenance method often used to tigthen up new hair growth at the roots. There is some slight controversy in the dreadlock community because it is not really 100% necessary as new growth will eventually lock in its own time. So, the first thing I have to say is that clockwise rubbing is NOT NECESSARY! It’s normal for you to have anywhere from 1/2″ to 3 inches of loose hair at the roots of your dreads. That loose hair serves a few purposes. (1) It allows the dreads to fall nicely, (2) it protect the scalp from the sun, and (3) without it cleaning your scalp would be difficult if not impossible. However many people dislike anymore than an inch or so aesthetically speaking.
Some say that root rubbing can cause breakage which can cause weak spots in the body of the dread as the hair continues to grow and lock up. However, this is minimal or non-existent if done correctly and not too-aggressively. Of course, if you are going the natural/freeform/patience/neglect route, you can stop reading here as this method lends itself towards only separating your dreadlocks to keep them from congoing (growing together).
In order to PROPERLY clockwise rub your roots you need at least 1/2″ of straight, undreaded hair at the roots. All you need to do is, with your palm toward your scalp, pinch the appropriate dreadlock between your forefinger and middle finger around the first joint. Press GENTLY against the scalp leaving enough space between your fingers and your scalp for new knots to be created and rub in circles (at least a few millimeters). Some sites recommend specifically going clock-wise, and some counter-clockwise. The logic in clockwise being that most hair whorls grow in a clock-wise direction so by going in that direction you will be going WITH the pattern of growth. No matter which direction you rub in, it’s a good practice to make sure you are consistently going the same direction everytime.
It’s important to note that clockwise rubbing will not result in dreaded growth. Similarly to backcombing initially to place dreads, you are just laying the groundwork for the knots to BECOME new dreaded growth. When you first clockwise rub, it will just be a wad of knotty hair, but with palm/pinch rolling and patience it will lock up in its own time.