Shirodhara is an ancient and verified method which has been successfully used for thousands of years. Shirodhara is mainly used to eliminate the diseases of head, neck, eyes, ears, nose and the nervous system.
It is divine, simple relaxing and a great rejuvenating therapy that gives healthy glow radiance to the skin. Shirodhara is composed of two words “Shiro + Dhara”. In Sankrit it means: Shiro-Head Dhara- Constant flow.
Shirodhara is a procedure where cozy Liquid medicine is poured on the forehead of the individual from a specific height and for a specific period in a systematic manner to stimulate the “Third eye”. The Liquid medicine is chosen according to the constitution of the individual, it can be Milk, herbal oils, medicated milk, or buttermilk etc. depending on the needs of the individual. Shirodhara is traditionally used to calm the nerves, harmonize Vata, to release stored emotions and purify the mind.
Preparation for Shirodhara: Patient should be asked to evacuate bowels and urine. First whole body massages and then gentle head massage should be done with medicated warm oil. Selection of oil depends on disease and current doshic state. Liquid medicine is then warmed to a comfortable temperature and the treatment begins.
Main Procedure: Patient is advised to lie down on the massage table or on a flat surface in supine position (face upwards) and a rolled towel or pillow beneath the neck is placed. Eyes are covered a piece of cotton. Then a steam of Luke warm oil (special curative herbal oil) is poured very slowly over the centre of the forehead in a continuous thin stream from a special bowl which is hanged about 4 - 6 inches above the patient’s head.
After Shirodhara: After completion of Shiro-Dhara head should be cleansed and patient is advised to take hot water bath after half an hour. He should not expose to the sun or wind directly.
In Ayurveda, Shirodhara is considered an important tool in the pursuit of higher states of consciousness. With Shirodhara accumulated toxins which can cause diseases are eliminated from the body and the tissues are nourished. Dhara act as an effective nervine tonic. This procedure synchronizes brains waves and profoundly coordinates & clams the mind, body and spirit.
Recent researches show that the therapy induces vasodilatation within the brain enabling increased flow of oxygen to the brain and nourishing the nervous system. Therefore Shirodhara therapy is the golden way to attain longevity.
Why dhara poured is over center of the forehead?
Head is one of the important vital organs & having all the sense organs in it. The brow is that part of the external anatomy associated with the fundamental endocrine glands (pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus) which organize and regulate all the hormonal secretions. Shirodhara works on the cerebral system and helps in relaxing the nervous system & balancing the prana Vayu around the head. It improves the function of the five senses. Continues pouring of oil acts as a tranquilizer & imparts effect of the brain.
1. Shirodhara is effective in diseases of head & disorders affecting eyes, ears and nose.
2. It rejuvenates and slows down the ageing process.
3. Gives great mental relaxation & increases spiritual awareness.
4. It is most effective methods for reducing stress & its ill effects on nervous system.
5. It has positive effects on Hypertension, Asthma & Insomnia.
6. Activates the pituitary gland.
7. It stimulates the 6th & 7th chakra which regulates our breathing patterns.
8. Releases negative emotions and bring improvement in mood.
1. It maintains equilibrium of the body and mind.
2. Beneficial in diseases like Alopecia, Greying of hair, Facial palsy, Schizophrenia, Ptosis, Mental retardation, Hemiplegia, Paraplegia & Epilepsy
3. Gives strength to the neck and head.
4. Regulates blood circulation and enhances blood circulation to the brain.
5. Improves the quality of voice.
Selection of oil is made according to the disease. Commonly used oils for Shirodhara are Brahmi oil, Bala oil, Ksheerbala taila, Chandan Bala Lakshadi taila, Dhanvantaram taila, Satavari taila and Yasti Madhu taila.
Takra Dhara: Pouring of specially medicated butter milk over the fore head with a special method. Pure and fresh buttermilk is recommended for Takra dhara.
Benefits of Takra Dhara:
1. Improves digestion.
2. Useful in infections of urinary tract.
3. Reduces premature graying of hairs.
4. Helps in relieving tension, anger, anxiety, depression & fear.
5. Cures migraine, chronic headaches and burning sensation of the head.
6. Reduces excessive thinking process & improved sleep & constration.
7. Improves the memory & self-esteem.
8. Useful in disorders of ear, nose and throat.
Kshir Dhara: Pouring of medicated cow’s milk over the forehead by special method. It is useful in Pitta disorders. Always use fresh milk in Ksheeradhara.
Benefits of Takra Dhara:
1. Useful in eye diseases.
2. Helps in Chronic Acidity.
3. Useful for Skin problems.
4. It is indicated in Unmad (Delirium), Apasmara (Epilepsy)
5. Useful in Insomnia and Burning sensation
6. Excellent for heart diseases & the nervous system.
Equipment needed for Shirodhara: Shirodhara table, Shirodhara stand, Bowl having maximum capacity of 2 liters (earthen pot, copper, silver, stainless steel vessels are the most common), Hot plate for keeping oil warm throughout the treatment., Stainless steel pitchers (1 or 2) for collecting the oil and re-pouring, Cotton balls for protecting patient’s eyes, Towel to place over the cotton balls (for protection of eye), Assistant to replace used oil.
Duration of Shirodhara: Ideally maximum Duration of Shirodhara is 45 minutes every day. For relaxation purpose it can be used occasionally, monthly or weekly. Ayurvedic physician should decide the number of days of treatment and appropriate foods exercise, yoga and herbal preparation. To achieve the maximum benefits from the therapy, Ayurvedic lifestyle should be followed. The therapy is convenient even for children from 10 years of age.
Diet: light diet regimen should be followed so that the mental status stays alert and one does not feel drowsy.
1. Shirodhara gives the best results when taken after Shiro-Abhyanga.
2. During therapy using mobile or doing any intense physical activity should be avoided.
3. Fresh Decoctions, milk or buttermilk should be used every day.
4. If dhara is administered with oil then after 7 days fresh oil should be used.
5. Shirodhara should be done in a relaxed & comfortable position.
6. Rest and relaxation is highly recommended after Shirodhara.
7. Best time of doing Shirodhara is morning in between 7 am to 10 am.
8. Shirodhara should be done under medical supervision only.
9. It may not be possible to perform this procedure at home due to lack of availability of infrastructure.
Conclusion: Shirodhara is one of the great purification and rejuvenation therapy. It is an amazingly effective treatment for balancing the vata dosha and the mind in general. Shirodhara is an effective treatment for relieving mental stress & nervous disorders. It increases confidence therefore after Shirodhara the individual becomes better able to face the challenges in life. Hence healthy individuals can also take this therapy to keep away from stress and strain.