Shirodhara treatment is an ancient method of Ayurvedic healing that helps strike a balance between one’s mind, body, and soul. It is quite different from Panchakarma Treatment or Ksheerdhara.
Ayurveda has long established itself as an effective tool for healing and bringing back the body to its innate state of balance. Healing through Ayurveda, not only addresses the numerous layers of the human body but also works to restore harmony between your mind, body, and spirit.
Ayurvedic treatments work to pacify all kinds of toxins and tensions from the body. There is a wide range of treatments prescribed in the ancient Vedic writings. Each treatment in the modern-day scenario is chosen upon a set number of factors like the patient’s ongoing health condition, health parameters that need to be improved, state of doshic imbalance, pitta, Vata dosha, Kapha, abhyanga, chakra, etc.
Upon thorough analysis, a particular mode of treatment is carefully selected and administered, one of which is Shirodhara. Shirodhara is a combination of two Sanskrit words Shiro (head) and Dhara (water). In Shirodhara treatment, a continuous stream of warm herbal oil dripped or poured on the head to combat a variety of ailments.
The oil is at first poured in a pattern that caters to calm our dosha i.e from the right temple to the left temple. After all the sesame oil has run through the scalp and into the hair, the stream of oil is then directed to the middle of the head.
This redirection stimulates a vital point present in our forehead known as “Ajna Marma” that stabilizes our moods and harmonizes our consciousness. Shirodhara therapy works wonders on our nervous system and can be a deeply spiritual and energizing experience.
Usually, around 2-3 liters of oil is required for one session that typically lasts for an hour. The oil contains a variety of antioxidants and active ingredients that provide a host of benefits to the person undergoing Shirodhara like protection against insomnia, immunity disorders, eye infections, neurological conditions, mental stress, anxiety, sinusitis, hearing disorders, hair loss, etc.
How is Shirodhara Performed?
In Shirodhara treatment, the person receiving the treatment is asked to relax and lie down while a liquid containing herbal oils, water, milk, or buttermilk is dropped gently on the person’s forehead, just between the brows that are often regarded as the place of the “third eye”.
The person’s eye is covered to provide protection while the solution is being poured. It often causes a tingling sensation. The pouring of liquid is followed up with a full-body, scalp, or head massage.
The liquid poured is always heated up to match the recipient’s body temperature. The purpose of pouring the medicated liquid in the middle of the head is to soothe the brain’s nerves. The liquid produces a calming effect on the hypothalamus that is known to treat conditions like hypertension and insomnia.
In India, Shirodhara treatment aims to stabilize our serotonin levels and relieve the body and mind of all kinds of stress and tensions.
Benefits of Shirodhara
1. Balances your Sleep Cycle
Our fast-paced lifestyles have disrupted our body’s natural patterns and left no room for relaxation. This results in most individuals having poor quality of sleep. One survey reported that adults above the age of 25, feel tired 3 out of 7 days a week and that is an alarming number.
Poor sleep quality can also lead to more complicated issues like insomnia, weakened immunity, low sex drive, high risk of diabetes, brain and memory malfunctioning, excessive lethargy, etc.
All these could cause a detrimental effect on our overall physical and emotional well-being. By undergoing Shirodhara treatment, the body’s cortisol levels are reduced which leads to a reduction of excessive stress in the body. By curbing excessive stress, the body can undergo deep relaxation, which helps in improving the quality and duration of sleep.
2. Helps Manage Anxiety
The gentle stream of oil dripping in the middle of the forehead causes a soothing yet repetitive stimulation to the brain. This stimulation focuses on “Ajna Marma”, our body’s ayurvedic therapy point that relieves anxiety and tension. Due to this, the therapy has an immediate stress-relieving effect on the body.
The pouring of oils is also followed up with a head massage that targets to improve the alpha rhythm in EEG. The alpha rhythm is a brain pattern that has been linked to a reduction in anxiety and enhances feelings of tranquility.
Shirodhara is also known to be useful in treating generalized and specific anxiety disorders while improving our cognitive abilities.
It is no brainer that our lives are now busier than ever. Leading a fast-paced lifestyle can often cause certain emotional and physical blockages in the body. The space between our eyebrows is often referred to as the “third eye” by ancient texts. It is where our “prana” or “life force” resides. Shirodhara treatment encourages healing through the opening of the third eye and helps to release all kinds of toxins and tensions from our body.
The oil dripping and massage facilitate our life force to travel through all kinds of blockages like past trauma, unresolved emotional experiences, and mental barriers and clears them up to revitalize our physical and emotional being. In this way, we can achieve mental clarity and strengthen our intuition and decision-making abilities.
5.Curbs Stress and Related Problems
Shirodhara treatment is particularly effective for combating excessive mental stress and turning on the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. The medicated oils help trigger a relaxation response from the body that brings down our respiration rate, stabilizes blood pressure, blood circulation, and regulates our heart rate.
Typically a therapy sessions last for around 30-90 minutes it’s benefits can combat weeks of stress, any side effects, and mental tension. The therapy is also useful in treating degenerative disorders that affect the brain like memory loss, facial paralysis, hypertension, migraines as wellness as prevent premature greying and hair fall.
Shirodhara treatment is a holistic therapy that encourages absolute healing as prescribed by the Ayurvedic bodywork. It offers endless benefits to the human body and helps keep the mind and spirit in harmony. The Ayurvedic oils used in the treatment are known to nourish the brain and strengthen the nervous system while treating a variety of concerns like stress, anxiety, hypertension, insomnia, dosha imbalances, etc.
The healing practices of Ayurveda are a gift to humankind and we all must experience going back to our roots to create a deep connection with our spiritual self.
Shirodhara treatment is an ancient marvel that can help your body switch gears - from excessive stress to complete relaxation. It is known to produce a calming and soothing effect on your body, similar to what one might experience right after meditation.
One must go ahead and experience the myriad benefits Shirodhara has to offer. It’ll help you reconnect and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit and achieve absolute control over your physical/mental health and well-being.
Authored By : Tanya Thukral
Tanya is an Ayurvedic doctor who has a deep interest in spreading the message of healing and restoration through the age-old systems of Ayurveda and Yoga