What is Shirodhara?

Shirodhara is an ancient Ayurvedic Medicinal Treatment that involves streaming liquid over the forehead while the patient lies supine on a table. It has undoubtedly become the most popular Ayurvedic treatment in the west, and has been practiced in India for millenia to treat a wide range of conditions. Today, in addition to Ayurvedic clinics, many luxury and specialty spas offer Shirodhara.

Shirodhara is one of the most powerful treatments for relieving unregulated movement of thought and heat in the mind.  Ayurveda interprets rapidly moving excessive thought, an inability to focus and a sense of overwhelm as symptoms of a particular kind of imbalance attributed to excess Vata. In this state, the mind has difficulty slowing down.  This can lead to an inability to handle stress,  a sense of nervousness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, psychological disorders and any other stress-related disorder. In the west, almost eighty percent of all disease is now attributed to stress.  Accordingly, Shirodhara is one of the most important and pertinent Ayurvedic treatments for Westerners.  Shirodhara has been proven to synchronise alpha brain waves, enhance blood circulation, improve mental clarity and release toxins, stress and tension.

Medicinally, Shirodhara is used to treat a wide range of conditions, to include eye problems, insomnia, adrenal fatigue, memory loss, and graying hair. A wide range of liquids can be used, depending on the body type and condition of the patient. Oil is most common. Frequently, the oil is infused with herbs that are tailored to the client’s constitution and needs.

To receive a shirodhara treatment, the client lies supine on a massage table or a traditional wooden Indian table called a droni. A gentle stream of warm oil (most commonly, organic unrefined sesame oil infused with herbs at about 98 degrees) is poured continuously over the forehead. Ideally, the session will begin and end with light massage of the scalp, face, and neck, and is best when preceded by Ayurvedic massage, called Abhyanga. A Shirodhara session can last up to an hour, and is usually administered in a calm room with soothing music, diffused light, candles, flowers, and other decorations that promote relaxation.

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