Shirodhara is a classical and a very popular Ayurvedic treatment procedure of slowly and steadily dripping warm medicated liquids on the center of the forehead of the patient, lying calmly on a comfortable bed.
The etymology of Shirodhara is from shira = head and dhara = a steady flow. This procedure induces a relaxed state of awareness, which results in a dynamic psycho-somatic balance. It is a well-established process through which a person will experience a total feeling of wellness, mental clarity, and comprehension. Shirodhara proved to have wonderful effects on psycho-neuro-immunology.
The medicated liquid is poured in an alternating pattern from a particular height and for a specific amount of time in a continuous stream onto the forehead, and then allowed to run over the scalp and through the hair in a soothing rhythm. The liquids include oils(Thailadhara), Milk(Ksheeradhara), Buttermilk(Takradhara) or Kashayam or Ayurvedic decoctions(Kashayadhara) etc. selected depending on the condition of the patient.
As per Ayurveda, three elements – Vata, Pitta & Kapha (Tridoshas) – control the human biological processes. The permutations of these determinants could vary in each person but a harmony of them is essential for overall health. According to Ayurveda, a disease can be cured by restoring the physiological and psychological equilibrium of the patient.
Nervous system of human body work in a synchronized manner with the signals to and from the brain through the network of nerves, which ultimately control the overall activities of the body. For the adequate functioning of nervous system and maintenance of one’s physical and psychological health, sufficient supply of oxygen and appropriate blood circulation are inevitable. Shirodhara is one among the Moordhni tailas of Ayurveda, ie; retaining taila for a stipulated time over the head. Shirodhara helps to increase the blood circulation to the brain and thus provides a greater supply of oxygen.
Shirodhara is used to treat a number of disease conditions as well as for relaxing purposes.
Note: Shirodhara should not be done immediately after food intake, in pregnant women, in certain acute inflammatory conditions, recent head and neck injuries etc. After the treatment, the patient should take adequate rest. For getting desired results, one should strictly avoid the following during the period of treatment – exposure to extreme hot or cold climates, exposure to wind, exercise, travel, day sleep, suppression of natural urges, alcoholism, smoking and unnecessary anger, grief etc. So in order to get the best out of it, Shirodhara should be performed only under the guidance and as per the advice of a qualified and experienced Ayurvedic Physician.