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Exploring the Benefits of Shirodhara Massage in Ayurvedic Therapy for Wellness




What is Shirodhara ?Shirodhara Uses, Benefits, and More!


The term “Siras” refers to channels through which various substance like rasa ( lymph) ,raktha (blood ),prana  circulates through out the body   .Along with that they are also responsible for the transportation of oxygen,nutrients to different cells and tissues of the body .


Head is considered as the root of the health and this therapy Sirodhara aims to nourish the mind and body through its marvellous effects .

Sirodhara is one amongst  the four types of  moordhathailam which is most popular procedures in ayurveda .


Who  doestnt have High levels of Mental fatigue ,stress and anxiety  in this present era due to various factors like work pressure and personal  issues .The deep relaxation and stress relieving effects of sirodhara is a boon to those who suffer from the above .And in todays fast  world ,to maintain mental and emotional well being ,sirodhara would prove marvellous benefits.


Lets explore what is this traditional treatment about ?

The term Sirodhara is derived from Sanskrit where ‘siro’ means head and ‘dhara’ means to flow

So its explained as a traditional ayurvedic treatment that involves gentle pouring of warm oil or medicated liquid over the forehead which is considered as the ‘third eye’

Sirodhara can purge toxins ,reduce mental fatigue and improve the cognitive function of patients .

Lets know more about  the mechanism  of Sirodhara

So this procedure of pouring oil to the forehead works through the combination of psychological ,physiological and energetic mechanism

The following are few highlights to show how it acts

It regulates the vital force /prana

As we all know prana is the life force  energy in our body .Sirodhara helps to balance the energy channels and chakras which in turn promotes the over all being

The warmthness of the oil or herbal liquid used can induce a relaxation in the mind by which the the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous activity is induced and that  Highly reduces the stress levels and promotes the well being

The soothing sensation of the oil goes via hypothalamus  via peripheral nerves and brings a relaxing effect to the mind and body

Sirodhara can impact the third eye area which is nothing but the pineal gland which plays a major role in controlling the production of melatonin .By this it can contribute to a qualitative sleep .

By inducing the marma points in the forehead  ,it influences the various physiological and psychological functions of the body

It provides the basement to promote healthy hair follicles and healthy scalp by moisturizing the scalp skin

It helps to attain  a mental clarity  and for a deep relaxation

It also helps to stimulate the lymphatic drainage in head an neck region which helps to detoxify and  encourage purification .


Why Is The Shirodhara Oil Poured Onto The Forehead?

The head  is the only part of the body that has numerous sensitive nerve endings or vital points that are directly connected to the brain. According to several spiritual texts, the centre of the forehead is said to be the ‘third eye’, which is connected to the pineal gland via several blood vessels and capillaries.

Ancient texts refers  this third eye as the ‘Agnya Chakra’. Focussing on the Agnya chakra during meditation with closed eyes leads to psychosomatic harmony. As the oil drips on the agnya chakra, it begets a meditation-like effect, which can show an adaptive response to the basal stress . The entire procedure empowers the mind and body to experience a deep and a meditative  rest, similar to the state, a person attains right after meditation.


How do you choose the right oil for sirodhara ?

The choice of oil purely depends on the prakruthi and vikruthi of the patient .

Here are some of the commonly used oil and medications used for Sirodhara

Medicated Coconut oil /Kera thailam

Used in various clinical condition like scalp psoriasis ,itching scalp or dermatitis .It makes suitable for kapha and pittha doshas also

Tilathailam /Sesame oil

Its used in most of vata related complaints like neurological and stress related issues like anxiety since it’s a best antidote for vata dosha

Few examples for medicated tilathailams are

Dhara with ksheerabalathailam  helps  to relax and reduce anxiety ,used in various neurological issues like hemiplegia ,facila palsy etc

Dhara with chandanadithailam is more cooling and helps to relive anxiety and sore muscles

Dhara with karpasasthyadithailam helps to relieve vaiupos neuromuscular problems

Dhara with dhanwantharamthailam is completely nourishing and t helps in varios clinical conditions like cervical sponydylosis ,ankylosing spondylosis etc

Medicated ghee /Ghritha

Using ghee for sirodhara is deeply nourishing and has soothing effect on the nervous system

Ksheeradhara /medicated milk

The term ‘ksheera’ denotes milk which says that medicated milk is being used for this dhara .Milk infused with cooling herbs like amlaki ,jatamansi ,panchagandha ,bala,dasamoola ,brahmi ,chandana can alleviate the pittha and brings cooling effect to the mind

Takradhara /medicated buter milk

Which denotes the use of medicated buttermilk in this procedure .Buttermlk infused with musta ,aragwadha ,triphala,amlaki is used in certain conditions like scalp psoriasis ,insomnia ,hypertension etc

Kwathadhara /medicated decotion

In this method medicated kashayam is being poured  which is recommended for certain psychosomatic conditions .Some common kwatham used is dasamoolakashayambalakashayam etc for various neurological conditions and mental well being

Jala dhara /water

In some cases of hypertension and extreme stress ,cold water is being used for dhara which improves the clinical symptoms in no time

Ilaneerdhara /tendercoconutdhara

Its being used for the same purpose of extreme tension ,anxiety ,palpitations and tensions

Stahyadhara /Dhara using Breastmilk

Its very useful in certain conditions of acute hypertension ,mental fatigue and extreme anxiety

It is important to use the right therapy oil or herbal decoction in order to utilise the maximum potential and benefits of the Shirodhara treatment.

Benefits of Shirodhara

·       Stress buster treatment

·       The rhythmic pouring of the oil helps to relive stress levels by promoting relaxation

·       Improves the quality of sleep

·       This balances the circadian rhythm which can  induce a state of relaxation and promotes sleep

·       It promotes mental clarity and sharpens focus and concentration

·       It balances the emotions and mood thus alleviating the state of depression

·       It relaxes the muscles of head and neck thus helping to alleviate migraine and neck pain

·       It moisturizes the head and scalp thus promoting  hair follicles for hair growth and reduce dandruff

·       It promotes the overall brain health by improving the circulation of oxygen

·       It relieves the stress ,anxietyad depression by soothing the nervous system its believed to activate the third eye thus activating the intuition

·       It can help eye health indirectly by relaxing and smoothening the nerves

·       It can balance the hormones in the body  particularly stress related hormone like cortisol

·       It can compliment hypertension when compared to other treatments like anti hypertensive drugs

·       It can widely help in PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder ) especially by inducing sleep

·       By lowering the stress hormones an d reducing the anxiety it can assist in managing OCD

Step by step Procedure for sirodhara

Here is a step by step procedures for administering sirodhara

The procedure of Shirodhara can be divided into three:-

·       Pre procedure

·       Main procedure

·       Post procedure

 

Pre-procedure-

Includes in assessing the patients vitals before his treatment .Hisprakruthi has to be analyzed to select the medicine of choice

Ensure his head is shaved completely if not the hair is cut shortly

Selection of the medicines has to be analyzed in detail.You can   customize the fluid by adding necessary medications or herbs  according to the necessity of the patients illness

The procedure room will have a clean table with a dhara pot hanging above the head position, which has a hole and a wick extended from it. A collection pot will be placed at the head end to collect the poured liquid so that it could be reused. Stoves, vessels, pillows and cloth pads need to be arranged as per the requirement.


The main procedure

The patient is instructed to lie down on the table and a small pillow can be placed for neck support. Mild oil massage should be done beforehand, and the eyes will be closed with cotton pads to prevent liquid from entering them. The slightly heated medicated liquid is poured on the Dhara pot and is channeled to the forehead of the patient from a height of about 10 cm. It is moved in a to-and-fro fashion and the liquid is allowed to cover the entire forehead as a continuous stream. The head should be massaged occasionally. The collected liquid can be reheated and poured into the pot. Duration should be around 30-60  minutes.


Post-procedure:-

The person is advised to relax afterward for about half an hour and the scalp should be cleaned and dried thoroughly. The body can be sponged with warm water and a talam could be placed on the vertex of the head.

The patient can bathe afterward in lukewarm water processed with herbs. Light food can be consumed if hungry, but a minimum time gap of 1 hour should be given.

Points to be taken care of:-

  • The treatment has to be done in the morning or evening hours.

  • The patient has to be properly assessed beforehand. If he shows any symptoms of distress, the treatment should be called off temporarily.

  • The temperature of the medicated liquid should be tolerable.

  • If the liquid used is Buttermilk, milk, it has to be freshly prepared and not reused.

  • Afterward, a vata pacifying diet is advised.


Who should not undergo sirodhara?

Though sirodhara can be highly beneficial for many ,there are few contraindications and precautions to be considered like

o    Patients with open wound and severe burns are not subjected to this treatment since the herbal liquids may aggravate the clinical symptoms

o    Pregnant ladies should refrain from this therapy during the first trimester since this therapy can enhance the uterine contraction leading to a miscarriage

o    Patient with recent head injury or neck injury /trauma on head or neck is not eligible for the treatment

o    Patients with Severe mental illness like psychosis ,bipolar disorder ,severe depression

o    Patients with acute fever or vomiting

o    Patients with uncontrolled hypertension is not eligible since this therapy may have an impact on a temporary dropping in blood pressure

o    Patients who has undergone recent eye surgeries like cataract

·         Patients with acute sinusitis and rhinitis

·         What are the side effects observed from sirodhara

·         There may be a heaviness of head  experienced by the patient particularly when they are not accustomed to the treatment .Over a period they will be able to recover completely

·         There may be nausea or giddiness due to the blood flow or induced relaxation

·         Headache if there is a existing mild sinusitis

Overall, while Shirodhara is generally considered safe and beneficial, it's essential to undergo the treatment under the guidance of a qualified healthcare provider.

 

How many days of Shirodhara?

It purely depends on the chronicity of illness.But gin general it varies between 7 till 14 days


Is Shirodhara a massage?

Its jus not a massage but letting a thin flow of medicated oil or liquids in a thin stream to forehead


Is Shirodhara part of Panchakarma?

Nasya ,vamana ,virechana ,basthy and raktha mokshana forms the core of panchakarma .But sirodhara can be considered as an additional supportive therapy for rejuvenation and relaxation.


What not to do after Shirodhara?

Avoid screen time ,exposure to cold ,wind ,strenuous work ,exposure to sun

What does Shirodhara do to your body?

It helps to balance the doshas ,rejuvenate the nervous system and makes yo to feel relaxed


How long does Shirodhara take to work?

It generally varies from paerson to person .It generally is felt after repeated sessions only

Can I sleep after Shirodhara?

Its better not to sleep


What is the oil use in Shirodhara?

It varies between person to person and purely depends on the chrinicilty of the clinical conditions


When should I wash my head after Shirodhara?

You can wash it immediately .But there is a practise to leave it unwashed too in some practises


Can shirodhara oil be reused?

It can be reused the next day unless the patient has any skin shreddings from scalp .In general ,oil is changed once in two days


Is shirodhara good for hair?

It helps to promote the hair follicles thus helping in hair growth


Can we do shirodhara at home?

Provided the patient follow the restriction properly and equipped with all necessary treatment tables


Does shirodhara reduce blood pressure?

Yes it can have an impact on reducing the blood pressure


Is shirodhara good for migraine?

Yes it does help in that


Is shirodhara safe in pregnancy?

No its not safe during pregnancy as it can induce uterine contraction


Does shirodhara help in hair growth?

Yes it does help in regenerating hair follicles


Can shirodhara be done during periods?

Its better to avoid during menstruation because it may contact the uterus resulting in heavy fluid loss


What Are The Side Effects Of Shirodhara?

There may be a heaviness of head  experienced by the patient particularly when they are not accustomed to the treatment .Over a period they will be able to recover completely

There may be nausea or giddiness due to the blood flow or induced relaxation

Headache if there is a existing mild sinusitis

 

Why Is TheShirodhara Oil Poured Onto The Forehead?

Ancient texts refers  this third eye as the ‘Agnya Chakra’. Focussing on the Agnya chakra during meditation with closed eyes leads to psychosomatic harmony. As the oil drips on the agnya chakra, it begets a meditation-like effect, which can show an adaptive response to the basal stress . The entire procedure empowers the mind and body to experience a deep and a meditative  rest, similar to the state, a person attains right after meditation.

 

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