What is Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is an ancient Ayurvedic therapy. Warm oil (or other liquid) pours in a continuous stream over the forehead or ‘ajna marma’, an area where nerves are highly concentrated. The pressure of the oil onto the forehead creates a vibration. The oil saturates the forehead and scalp and penetrates into the nervous system. The gentle pressure and soothing warmth of the oil allow the body, mind and nervous system to experience a deep state of rest, similar to meditation. Shirodhara is traditionally done as part of the Panchakarma cleansing process using specially prepared shirodhara oil. It is also safe and effective as a stand-alone therapy.
In Ayurveda, there are numerous benefits to applying oil to the head and scalp. Bringharaj oil is an excellent tonic for the nervous system, promotes sound sleep and is known to benefit the hair.
Who Benefits From Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is a great treatment for a compromised nervous system. Shirodhara can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue and hypertension. It relieves tension, worry, fear and headache as well as depression. It regulates mood and gives feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Shirodhara treatment is advised for the prevention of many psychosomatic disorders. In a healthy individual, prevention of diseases pertaining to the body, mind and sense organs is the foremost indication.
Shirodhara can also assist with the following conditions:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Shirodhara reduces excess vata dosha which is the primary dosha out of balance in PTSD. According to Alakananda Ma of the Alandi Ayurveda Gurukulam, shirodhara done with an appropriate Shirodhara Oil containing nervine herbs will deeply soothe the nervous system and help ease the symptoms of PTSD.
Insomnia and Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD)
Shirodhara is traditionally known for it’s ability to assist with sleep problems. Research proves the treatment effective alone and also when coupled with herbal support.1Shirodhara with milk has also proven effective in treating insomnia.2 The process stimulates the pineal gland which produces melatonin, the regulator of the wake-sleep cycle. It calms an unquiet mind and induces rest. If your insomnia stems from working the night shift and your wake-sleep cycle is out of sync with the natural rhythms of the sun shirodhara can assist in removing fatigue, restoring energy and re-establishing harmony in the doshas or constitution.
If you’re a frequent flyer and your daily sleep rhythm is often out of sync and you suffer jet lag, shirodhara can help reset your daily pattern of waking and sleeping as well as remove built up fatigue. Travel with a Vata soothing oil or Bhringaraj oil and apply to the head before bed or find a local practitioner to receive the treatment.
Raktagata Vata is an imbalance of Vata dosha that may be correlated with hypertension. Shirodhara has proven effective in lowering blood pressure.
Shirodhara is also a great treatment for the healthy individual looking to maintain health and enhance well being, clarity, calm and immunity. Shirodhara promotes deep relaxation, relieves fatigue and renews and reinvigorates the body and mind.
It also balances one’s energy level. If you are in need of rest and relaxation, the process will provide you that. If you are well rested the process will enhance your clarity and perception.
Shirodhara increases immunity by relieving stress and worry, and balancing the Ayurveda mind-body types or doshas so that your constitution remains strong.
Shirodhara gives deep rest and renewed energy producing an ageless and youthful countenance. Shirodhara relieves stress, worry and excessive thought. It gives total relaxation as if from meditation. This naturally relaxes and rejuvenates the face and softens worry lines.
For more information about Shirodhara, please refer to #37 or ask your Ayurvedic therapist more about it. We would like to assist you in the best way.