Ever wondered how herbal oils can help you have sound sleep, or why tourists to India are so fond of getting a Shirodhara therapy at an Ayurvedic wellness centre? Shirodhara is a classical Ayurvedic wellness therapy in which warm herbal oil is poured on the forehead continuously and consistently. But how does this Shirodhara therapy help your mind,body and soul? Which oil is best for Shirodhara? Does it act as a stress reliever too? All you need is a guide like this to have all your questions answered.
The word shirodhara originates from two Sanskrit words, shiro (head) and dhara (flow).
It is a form of treatment in which warm, herbal oil is poured onto your forehead. First, a full body abhyanga massage is performed. Then herbal oil is streamed in dosha-specific patterns from the right to left temple. Thereafter the stream of oil is focussed to the middle of the forehead where it flows continuously for the rest of the duration of the therapy.
A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in 2013 showed that Shirodhara had a stress relieving effect on the volunteers. Another study involving shirodhara treatments observed that, “The relaxed alert state, after Shirodhara, was correlated with an increase in alpha rhythm in EEG.” The alpha rhythm is associated with a decrease in anxiety and an increase in serenity.
Shirodhara helps your brain’s blood circulation, soothes and relaxes your mind and in the long term it can help relieve people from depression. It is designed to impact the Ajna chakra. This influence of the Shirodhara therapy causes induction of meditative states. Hence, resulting in a regulating effect on the nervous system and the body. However clinically proven depression may require one to consult psychologists.
Shirodhara therapy helps clear your energy channels, emotional as well as physical blockages. This gives you clarity of thoughts, spiritual awareness and helps some with a better decision-making power.
Shirodhara reduces nor-adrenaline and serotonin hormones. It has a calming effect on worry, paranoia and imagined stress. It helps reduce cortisol levels. All this in turn induces relaxed states of your mind thus improving your sleep quality.
Shirodhara oil nourishes your hair and scalp and thus reduces problems of hair loss considerably.
Vata dosha leads to restlessness, memory problems, forgetfulness, chaotic thoughts etc. The warm herbal oil soothes your vata dosha thus improving concentration.
A sesame-sunflower blend or a medicated herbal oil is mostly used for Shirodhara therapy however often materials like warm milk, buttermilk, coconut water etc can also be used for Shirodhara depending on what exactly you need to treat.
If you are a woman in the last stages of your pregnancy, or you have a brain tumor, or any head injury, cuts on forehead etc you are not eligible for shirodhara.
Hope your questions related to this wonder therapy called Shirodhar have been answered. So the next time you visit an Ayurvedic wellness centre, you know what to choose as your stress reliever. If you have any unanswered questions comment below with your questions. If you like the post check out our other posts related to ayurveda and mental health.