Shirodhara Therapy

Shirodhara as the name suggests 'Shiro' is head and 'Dhara' is Flow. Shirodhara is considered as one of the most celestial therapies of Ayurveda. Practiced in India for more than 5000 years, this ayurvedic detox therapy is extremely relaxing and rejuvenating. This ayurvedic massage technique helps release stress and anxiety. It can also help your brain release negative energy while providing you a serene space to peel away all the tensions of life. Gentle and soothing massage with medicated warm oils boosts the functionality of the central nervous system.

It is also beneficial to the people who suffer from an imbalance of Tridosha like the imbalance of Vata leads to insecurity, worry, fears etc. whereas the imbalance of pita leads to irritation and frustration. Apart from herbal oils, ingredients such as buttermilk, water, ghee etc. can also be used in shirodhara therapy.

Kinds of Shirodhara

There are basically three types of Shirodhara therapies. These are:

1. Sneha dhara – This therapy is performed by pouring a warm, smooth stream of herbal oil or ghee onto the middle of the forehead for an extended period of time.

2. Ksheer dhara – This is yet another unique and highly effective form of Shirodhara. In this technique a combination of medicinal herbs and milk are poured on the forehead.

3. Takra dhara – In this form of Shirodhara, a mixture of some ayurvedic herbs and buttermilk is poured on the forehead. As these ‘magical’ liquids flow on the forehead, the mind becomes serene and calm.

Things to consider before performing Shirodhara 

Shirodhara is considered as one of the safest and most effective therapy in Ayurveda. However, attention needs to be paid while performing this therapy for e.g. lukewarm oil should not enter into the nose or eyes of the patient and cleanliness and hygienic must be maintained. Therefore, several Ayurvedic practitioners suggest that this therapy should be performed under the observation of trained professional therapists.

The procedure for Shirodhara Therapy 

The stepwise procedure of Shirodhara is as follows:

1. Abhyangam is an Ayurvedic body massage in which the patient needs to recline on the massage table with eyes closed in order to relax the body and mind.

2. After this the process of Shirodhara starts where a thin stream of lukewarm oil is poured continuously on the forehead in a continuous manner.

3. The duration of this ayurvedic process depends on the patient’s condition. It may vary from 30 to 60 minutes. It is important to note that Shirodhara therapy should be performed under the observation of a highly trained and experienced therapist to ensure it is done correctly.  

4. A light head massage can also be given to the person either during or before this Shirodhara process.


Working of Shirodhara therapy

The continuous pouring of lukewarm oil into the forehead results in stimulation and soothing of the hypothalamus which regulates the functions of pituitary glands thereby induces sleep. This therapy also activates the decisive points in the head which also boosts circulation. This process of Shirodhara also widens the blood vessels which decreases blood pressure and further improves the blood circulation of the brain. This therapy decreases stress hormone levels and calms the mind.


Benefits of Shirodhara therapy


The benefits of Shirodhara therapy are as follows:

1. It helps in the treatment sleep insomnia, Depression, memory loss, concentration break down, severe headaches, hypertension, facial paralysis and degenerative brain condition etc.

2. It is also considered as a very effective therapy for hair problems like hair fall and premature greying of the hair.

3. It is a wonderful experience for people who suffer from jet lag or insomnia due to frequent flying, helps reset the daily routine of waking and sleeping due to continuous traveling and relaxes your exhausted body and decreases fatigue.


Above all, Shirodhara provides peace which one gets from meditation. 


Who cannot undergo Shirodhara Therapy?


Shirodhara is an answer to every dosha present in your body. But this therapy has some limitations. This therapy is not suitable for pregnant women who are in their third trimester. Also, Shirodhara is not suitable for those who have problems with sunburns or rash on the scalp. This therapy is also not recommended to those who are allergic to oil.


How to have a successful Shirodhara

To experience a relaxing Shirodhara therapy one need to ensure:


1. Silence is the key point: During the Shirodhara therapy, there should be pin drop silence in the room. No music or cell phones should be played during the session. Also, there should be no conversation or interruptions in the room.

2. Pay attention to the room temperature: The room temperature should be kept in mind while doing the therapy. Ideally temperature should be kept warm. While dripping the oil, the patient must not feel cold or uncomfortable. The person with Vata dosha should be covered with a few layers of blankets during the process.

3. Choosing the correct liquid


Choosing the appropriate oil for Shirodhara therapy is a very important. Help of an ayurvedic expert should be sought. Among all oils, sesame and sunflower oil are usually preferred by many practitioners. For a person with Vata dosha, sesame oil is a good choice due to its heating effects whereas sunflower oil is good for pitta dosha due to its cooling effects. In some cases, both the oils can also be blended together. Coconut oil should only be used under the expert guidance as it has cooling effects which tend to make body cold. So, it should be used carefully for people with Vata dosha.


Things to consider after Shirodhara

After the completion of Shirodhara therapy, one should keep in mind certain points in order to enjoy the rejuvenating effects of this process. These are:


1. Washing the hair: If Shirodhara is performed with oil use an ayurvedic shampoo before rinsing the head with water.

2. Caffeine should be avoided for a few days: It causes dissension in the body. So, after Shirodhara therapy, its intake can unbalance all the doshas which further leads to having a negative impact on the nervous system. Instead of caffeine one can take fruit juice or fresh fruits.

3. Eat khichdi: It is an extremely digestible and delicious stew which is rich in nutrition since it helps in the cleansing process and also balances the doshas in the body.   


Why undergo Shirodhara therapy?


Just like a tree whose roots nurture and control the functioning of all the activities of the tree, the human head is the main functioning center of the body which looks after all the activities which are performed by the body. The function of the spinal cord and brain is controlled by the head. Apart from this, the sense of hearing, taste, sight, and taste is also controlled by the head. Shirodhara by using different mediums such as ghee, milk, oil, water, etc that help in balancing these doshas and de-stresses the mind. Shirodhara does wonders in treating a compromised nervous system and aids in smooth functioning of the entire body.


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