Shirodhara is an Ayurveda therapy that is preferred for inducing a deep state of relaxation. The word shirodhara is a combination of two Sanskrit words, ‘Shiro’ which means head and ‘Dhara’ which means flow. The process involves continuously pouring a thin stream of medicated oil over the forehead from a pot suspended at a specific height.
Caressing the forehead with the stream of oil is said to have a profound effect on the high concentration of nerves present there as the vibrations caused by the pressure of the oil help stimulate the nervous system. The therapy also stimulates the vital points in the head and improves blood circulation of the brain.
Benefits of Shirodhara
Owing to its impact on the nervous system, Shirodhara is highly preferred to relieve stress, anxiety, hypertension, fatigue and depression. The therapy is also said to strengthen the cognitive organs.
Some of the profound benefits of Shirodhara include,
- Stimulates nervous system – The therapy stimulates and relaxes the nerves which help bring balance to the Praan Vayu. This leads to a healthy functioning of the cerebral system and boosts cognitive ability that are vital for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Awakens the senses – The gentle pressure of the oil falling on the head activates the pituitary gland and awakens the senses. As hormones secreted by the pituitary gland help control growth, regulate blood pressure and governs the thyroid glands and metabolism, the stimulation of the gland encourages optimum health and wellbeing.
- Mental clarity – Shirodhara also aids in maintaining a balanced state of mind by activating the requisite glands. This help improves concentration and focus and also ensures mental clarity.
- Improves sleep – The therapy restores the natural rhythm of the body and also removes fatigue which in turn induces sound sleep.
- Treats hair loss – The medicated oils used in the therapy treats the hair follicles and repairs hair loss and hair damage by nourishing the scalp and the hair roots.
Shirodhara is highly recommended for the following conditions.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – The excess Vata dosha which primarily causes PTSD can be regulated with Shirodhara. The medicinal properties of the oils used to help soothen the nervous system and ease the symptoms of the condition.
- Hypertension – The therapy is effective for lowering blood pressure by restoring balance of Vata dosha which causes Raktagata Vata which is correlated with high blood pressure.
- Insomnia and Shift Work Sleep Disorder – Shirodhara using milk is highly effective for treating insomnia. If sleeplessness arise from an imbalanced sleep cycle caused by working in a night shift, the therapy helps remove the fatigue and induces rest.
- Jet lag – Shirodhara also help reset the sleep pattern disturbed by frequent air travel. The daily pattern of waking and sleeping can be brought back to balance with the therapy.
Types of Shirodhara
- Snehadhara – This kind of Shirodhara uses medicated herbal oils and ghee. Different oils are also mixed and used for specific therapeutic benefits and according to the dosha involved.
- Ksheeradhara – Medicated milk or milk infused with herbs is used in this type of Shirodhara.
- Takradhara – Herb infused takra or butter milk is used for the Shirodhara.