Shirodhara, a form of treatment, is a word which comprises of two terms ‘shiro’ meaning head and ‘dhara’ meaning pouring in stream or sprinkling. It is an ancient Ayurvedic healing practice which has been performed in India for about the last 5000 years. This treatment has immense impact on the nervous system. It immediately acts to calm and relax your mind and has a cleansing effect on the nerves.
Shirodhara is extremely beneficial for people suffering from imbalance of Vata and Pitta. A person suffers from feelings of fear, insecurity and worry when his/her Vata is out of balance. Imbalance of Pitta can cause a person to become angry, frustrated, irritated and even cause him to lose the sense of right and wrong. Shirodhara involves the use of such liquids that help to counter the negative effects of the out-of-balance doshas or conditions. The liquid soothes and pacifies the doshas when applied to the forehead, scalp and nervous system.
Shirodhara not only helps to reduce stress and soothe the nervous system but it has other beneficial effects as well. It can treat insomnia, bring relief from migraines, lowers high blood pressure, decreases hair loss, reduces stress and even helps to increase mental focus and concentration.
Shirodhara provides optimum results when it is done in the morning or in the evening. Shirodhara may begin with Ayurvedic body massage or abhyangam after a person lies down with his/her eyes closed. After this, the procedure involves the pouring of about 2 liters of luke-warm oil over the forehead. The oil is poured continuously as a stream and in an oscillating manner. Care should be taken to ensure that the oil does not enter the eyes or ears. The entire procedure may last for 30 to 60 minutes depending on the condition of the patient. A therapist may also give a patient a light head massage before or during the procedure.
Oil is poured over the forehead as this area has a large number of nerve endings and therefore is highly sensitive. Vibrations are created on the forehead by the pressure of the oil. The oil penetrates into the nervous system after saturating the forehead and scalp. The oils used in this procedure improve blood circulation to the brain by vasodilating all the channels. It also helps to reduce the level of stress hormones like adrenaline and nor adrenaline and therefore provides respite from anxiety and related disorders. The entire procedure enables the body, mind and nervous system to experience a state of deep rest, similar to the state a person arrives at after meditation.
A person suffering from anxiety disorder, stress, hypertension, fatigue, tension, worry, head ache and depression can opt for this Ayurvedic treatment. Furthermore, shirodhara oils mixed with nervine herbs can be useful for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. A person suffering from insomnia is also eligible for this treatment as the process helps to stimulate the pineal gland which produces the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. A person suffering from high blood pressure will also find this treatment to be beneficial.
Women in the final phases of pregnancy should not opt for this treatment. A person who has an aversion to oil is not eligible for this treatment. Other people who are not eligible include people suffering from brain tumor, neck injury, cuts or abrasions on the forehead or fever. People with some acute illness or suffering from nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, fatigue or spontaneous sweating are not eligible for this treatment.
Shirodhara is a very beneficial treatment and there are no serious side-effects associated with the treatment. However, some people may experience a feeling of heaviness in the head. Some people can get a bit dizzy while the chances of giddiness may increase for people if they had kept their eyes open during the treatment.
People, who have undergone this treatment, will have to remove the oil from their hair. It is better to add shampoo to hair first and then use water to wash the hair. This is because the shampoo will stick to the hair and ensure that is properly cleaned. Caffeine should be avoided for a few days after the treatment as caffeine has a negative effect on the nervous system. A person should use warm water for bathing and drinking purposes. A person should also go for a light diet and avoid eating oily food.
Shirodhara treatment lasts for about 30 minutes to 60 minutes and it provides immediate relief. A person does not require any such time to recover from the treatment.
The Shirodhara treatment can cost anything between Rs 1200 and Rs 6000.
Shirodhara provides relief from nervous disorders and may also help to reduce blood pressure, induce sleep and reduce hair loss. However, this is an Ayurvedic treatment that produces immediate results. But a person can get affected by anxiety or stress or sleep disorders after a certain time after completing the treatment. The results are, hence, not permanent and a person may have to opt for the treatment again. Permanent results may be obtained by undergoing this treatment over a long period of time.
Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic therapy that has been practiced for centuries in India. It is a unique treatment of using medicated oil or milk on the forehead of an individual to cure him/her of certain conditions. There is, therefore, no alternative to this treatment.