Rush! Yes, today the world is going through a rush. Rush to achieve, rush to be first, rush to beat the line. Because of this rush, the body and mind take a beating. People, in the beginning, maybe under the influence of adrenaline and may not feel what their body is going through. Once the rush settles down, then the body starts telling its story. Fatigue, musculoskeletal disorder, insomnia, backaches are few recurring problems one may face. People start consulting doctors and take medications. But, medications have their own pros and cons.
But now the world is going for non medicated therapies or healing techniques. Techniques like Reiki, Pranic healing, Crystal healing, Quantum healing, ayurvedic therapy are often used to drive out impurities and negative energy from the body. In Ayurveda, people may suggest massage and ayurvedic oil. Shirodhara is one such technique used for relieving the body from stress.
What Is Shirodhara Therapy?
Shirodara treatment is an ayurvedic therapy. It is derived from Sanskrit terminology of “Shiro” means head and “Dhara” means flow. It involves pouring a liquid agent, usually some kind of oil (Taila dhara), milk (Dugdha dhara), water(Jala dhara) on your forehead. Few also use herbal preparation (Kwatha dhara) and buttermilk (Takra dhara).
It works specifically on targeting a particular type of Dosha imbalance and relaxation of mind and body. Our body produces flight and fight response depending upon the situation. The body channels the production of catecholamines during flight or fight situations. But when the body is relaxed, it stops the production of catecholamines and the heart rate decreases and gives the signal to save the energy. In turn, the body’s parasympathetic systems are switched on and acetylcholine is released from the body. This slows down the heart rate and the body’s metabolism drops down.
The ayurvedic oil or any herbal preparation is poured on the forehead from the right to the left side of the temple. After completing one round of this then the pouring continues onto the centre of the forehead for the rest of the duration of therapy. The pouring session usually lasts for 30min depending on the Dosha imbalance. It is then followed by a therapeutic massage called “Abhyanga massage”.
Abhyanga massage is a type of ayurvedic shirodhara massage done with oil or liquid preparation. Pouring of liquid on your forehead is followed by a slow massage. In Swedish massage, the effect is only superficial while Abhyanaga acts on deep layers of the body and is often used for the treatment of several other ailments.
Take the help of an expert Abhyanga massage practitioner to get this therapy done.
How To Perform?
- Oil Pouring: Patients need to lie down plain on bed or surface and loosen the body. The liquid ingredient is then warmed to your body temperature and poured into a pot or a container. The position of the container is 90 degrees above your head. Then the liquid is allowed to pour slowly covering the temple. As mentioned earlier, this process will last 30 min or may be extended depending on the treatment.
- The Abhyanga: While the oil is pouring, a light head massage is given to the patient. Once the massage and oil pouring activity is done, the extra oil is reflected back into the pot. The eye is protected by a mild barrier so the oil or other liquid preparation does not come in contact.
It is pretty safe to perform ayurvedic shirodhara therapy. However, there are a few things that need to be kept in mind. The liquid preparation should not be too hot. Eyes and any kind of cuts on your face should be protected. Before selecting the oil or any liquid, as the patient about allergy history. Always get the shirodhara ayurvedic treatment done by an experienced practitioner. Apart from water, any other ingredient should not be too concentrated.
Regarding the timing of the therapy, it can be done either in the morning or in the evening depending on the availability. It is used to treat many other syndromes also, so sometimes instead of only head or scalp massage a full-body massage can be done. After the activity is done one should take a warm water bath with medicated shampoo to remove the oil from the hair.
- Stress management: Daily activities will generate a lot of stress either physically or emotionally. This may imbalance the body dynamics and the person may suffer mood swing. The steady pouring of Shirodhara liquid combined with massage will calm down the mind and raging emotions. The mind and the body loosens up and it goes into a state of tranquillity. The anterior hypothalamus secretes the stress hormones. Shirodhara cools down the release of stress-related hormones. The brain undergoes the alert mode of the relaxed mode and the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. Due to this, the blood flow slows down and in turn, the heart rate relaxes to normal. Due to the reduction in body activity, there is a conservation of energy.
- Sleep Management: Sleep is one thing that is getting costlier. Individuals tend to work more to get success but forget to sleep thereby depriving the body of timely repair time. Shirodhara helps reduce the stress-related hormones mainly cortisol which inhibits sleep. It also helps to uplift the duration as well as the quality of sleep. Remember a relaxed mind sleeps well.
- Anxiety concentration Management: The oil and massage help to remove the ama (toxins) from the templar region. It improves concentration, remembering power and improves responsive skills. It pacifies the Vata and Pitta Dosha and indirectly regulates symptoms of sweating due to anxiety, blabbering in person, uneasiness, shivering etc.
- Blood pressure management: Due to the flushing of toxins from the body and reduction of stress hormones, the blood flow and the heart rate drops to normal and the body goes into a relaxed state from the state of elevated tension. This helps in regulating blood pressure.
- Reduction in muscle stiffness: It relaxes the muscles and the tendon’s mobility and helps in the flexibility of loosening the tight muscles.
Also, Shirodhara uses various ayurvedic ingredients. The selection of oil or ingredient is based on the type of Dosha your body possesses. It is known there are three types of Dosha namely Vata, Pitta, Kapha. Choose oil according to that. It is recommended the oil derived from the food pacifying the Dosha. Almond and sesame oil can be used for Vata, Ghee in moderate quantity can be used for Pitta while for Kapha flaxseed oil can be used.
In addition to these oils, one can always mix herbs like turmeric, tulsi, cloves etc into the preparation. Few of the well-known preparations like Ksheer Bala Tailam which is a mixture of Bala herb paste, sesame oil and cow milk is widely used in Shirodhara. All these activities should be done by an expert practitioner as any wrong formulation may disturb the Dosha.
How Much Does This Shirodhara Therapy Cost?
Apart from relaxation and stress management, Shirodhara is also used to cure a few nerves and psychological related issues, skin and eye ailments. However, the cost of such therapies may vary from city to city. Costs in Indian metro cities can range from 1500 INR to 6000 INR, depending on the experience and quality of the medical practitioner.
Any Potential Side Effects?
It is a non-invasive, regenerative therapy. The effectiveness of the therapy varies from person to person depending on their response. There are no major side effects recorded. However, one may have to be wary about the liquid entering into the eye or any cuts. A person suffering from concussion, conjunctivitis, glaucoma or any skin allergy should avoid this treatment.
Take help from a professional therapist to get this therapy done. Shirodhara treatment can provide you with a near to spiritual experience. It brings a calming and relaxing influence in your life and fine. The various herbal preparation not only soothes your skin but also relaxes your mind and body. It helps to pacify your Dosha, reduces the stress, anxiety, sleeping disorder and to a certain extent helps in few psychological and neurological anomalies. However, this may vary from person to person but one can surely give it a try.