Shirodhara. The Ayurvedic Miracle Therapy 2 Relieve Stress.


Shirodhara Pouring of medicated Kwatha (Decoction) or oil on forehead is known as Shirodhara. dhara is also a type of Bahya Snehana (external oleation therapy) as mentioned in Ayurveda. Dhara is mainly indicated in neurological and psychosomatic disorders. Today’s modern life style is full of stress and thus interfering the individual daily function. In current era the problems like insomnia, headache, facial paralysis, scalp psoriasis, hair fall etc. are the most common and challenging conditions. But till now effective management for these complaints are still lacking.

Hence it is the need of time to find out the safe and effective treatment modalities for these diseases. Thus an effort is made to rule out the efficacy of Dhara in different psychological disorder. The apparent mode of action of this procedure is not understood. Ayurveda mainly highlighted the outcomes of the procedure rather than its action. So a review of Samhita, Chikitsa Grantha, Nighantus and Ayurveda text with regard to dhara was conducted. Indication and Contraindication and therapeutic efficacy of dhara were noted during the study.

The Meaning of Shirodhara

  The word Shirodhara comes from the Sanskrit words, Shiro-means Head and Dhara-means Flow. Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda therapy that involves gently pouring warm liquids over the forehead. It is the process in which medicated oil, butter milk, Kwatha  or Tender coconut water  is poured in a continuous stream of drip on the forehead according to the dosha and illness  in a specific manner and height. Generally, the height from the Dhara pot and the forehead around 4 inches.  

 Dhara Procedure.

 The dhara procedure is divided in to 3 parts

 1. Purva Karma

 2. Pradhana Karma

 3. Paschata Karma

 Purva Karma Materials required-

 Shirodhara patra, Shirodhara stand, Shirodhara table, Gauze, cotton earplug, Vessels, Soft towels, Suitable medicated oil/milk/any liquid.

 Preparation of the patient

 The patient is thoroughly examined whether he is fit with for procedure. Patient should be advised to pass stool and urine. Then pulse, temperature and blood pressure of the patients should be recorded. After the head,sholder  massage  Patient is advised to lie down in supine position and Dhara Pot should be fixed 4 inches  above the forehead. The eye and ear should be covered with cotton to prevent the entry of liquid into eyes. Selection of Sneha- According to Dharakalpa, Sneha is taken according to the condition of Dosha .

Pradhana Karma

Shirodhara room should be cleaned well, ventilated and very quiet. Shirodhara is done in the morning time on empty stomach after massage. Any type of liquid (Taila, Milk, Kvatha, water) should be kept in Dharapatra. Dhara should be poured continuously on forehead neither very fast nor very slow. The liquid of shirodhara should not be too hot or too cold. The stream of Dhara liquid should not be too thick or thin.

When the liquid 11 starts pouring then the vessel is moved in the pendulum manner starting from one lateral side to the other lateral side. The liquid is collected in another vessel kept and is used to refill the Dharapatra before it becomes empty. Shirodhara process is done for at least ½ an hour it depends on the dosha.It has to be done  in the morning up to 14/21 days. Temperature of liquid for Shirodhara should be above to the body temperature.

Period for changing the shirodhara treatment liquid.

When medicated butter  milk and tender coconut  water is used in Shirodhara, it should be changed every day. Because it last with in few hours.   When Dhanyamla is used, it can be used up to 3 days. The oil also should be changed every 3rd day, but it can be reused, so in the first 3 days, half of the oil should be used, for next 3 days the other half of the oil should be used and on the 7th day all the first and second half both are mixed together, then it should be discarded.

After the Shirodhara.

 After the Shirodhara process is completed the head of the patient should be wiped out and dried. This is followed by a short duration of rest and massage of the body including head with oil and then a lukewarm bath. The patient is advised to have a  very light diet to easy digested and avoid  day sleep.

Types Of Shirodhara

1. Sneha Dhara

Sneha Dhara or oil Shirodhara uses herbal oils called thaila or ghee. To conduct the therapy, Ayurvedic practitioners utilize herbal oils by mixing them with different essential oils.

Lakshadi and Dhanwantaram are two such oils that are effective in treating Pitta and Vata disorders. Warm oil is principally used in a predominance of Vata and Kapha imbalances, whereas cool oils (room temperature) and other liquids are used in Pitta imbalances.

Alternatively, lukewarm oil, such as Chandan Bala Lakshadi oil, can be used in Pitta disorders. Lukewarm herbal ghee or Saraswat ghee can be used for Shirodhara if the Pitta is accompanied by Vata vitiation.

2. Ksheer Dhara

Ksheer Dhara uses milk infused with herbs. The medicated milk is poured over the head from a specific height for a certain duration of time in a rhythmic manner.

This therapy is highly beneficial for Vata and Pitta predominant headaches, stress, insomnia, and anxiety.

Takra Dhara uses buttermilk infused with special herbs. It is an effective therapy for those with an aggravated Vata.

3. Takra Dhara

Takra Dhara

How Does Shirodhara Work?

Shirodhara stimulates the vital points on your head, which helps boost blood circulation. Massaging the head allows the oil to infuse deep into the scalp layer, delivering a calming sensation, During the treatment the mind becomes calm and rest because the patients keep attention on the head. The main purpose of this treatment to improve the blood circulation.

In addition to the gentil massage, it’s the warm medicated herbal oil utilized during the therapy that causes vasodilation of the blood vessels, leading to increased blood flow and a decrease in blood pressure. When the entire brain cells get the proper supply of oxygen level and blood the cells stated to work properly.When the cells works properly the stress remove by naturally.

Shirodhara can help soothe the hypothalamus, which activates the regulation of the pituitary gland. It also works in reducing elevated serotonin levels and stress hormones such as noradrenaline and adrenaline, to manage stress. That’s why it can effectively help resolve insomnia.

Shirodhara is also useful in relieving many psychosomatic ailments like anxiety, tension and depression. This is the one of the best treatment for stress management.

Benefits of Shirodhara Treatment.  

Indications- Stress and psychosomatic disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Neurological disorders (Headache, Epilepsy etc.), Psychiatric disorders (Psychosis, Neurosis, Insomnia etc.), Convulsive disorders and also in Psoriasis, Eczema, Hypertension etc. Shirodhara is also used in patient Vata Vyadhi, Facial palsy, Loss of memory and specially Paralysis can be very good to recall the lost of memories.


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