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In this therapy, warm oil (or other liquid) is poured in a continuous stream over the forehead with a specific manner followed by head massage. The pressure of the oil onto the forehead creates a vibration. The oil saturates the forehead and scalp and penetrates into the nervous system. It is also known as Shiro Seka, Shirothara, Dhara and Shiro-Parisheka.
It is an amazing, unique body therapy from Ayurveda which has a profound impact on the nervous system. That means, the treatment directly and immediately calms, relaxes and has a cleansing effect on the mind and nerves.
Shirodhara is useful for the healthy individual to maintain health and enhance well being, clarity, calm and immunity. It helps to relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue and hypertension. It reduces tension, worry, fear, headache and depression. It regulates mood and gives feelings of pleasure and relaxation. It is useful in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in which Vata Dosha is mainly vitiated. It also helps to cure Insomnia and Shift Work Sleep Disorder, Jet Lag, Hypertension and other psychosomatic diseases.
Ayurveda has described that; Shirodhara is beneficial for Vata and Pitta Dosha. If Vata is vitiated then it exhibits as fear, insecurity, worry, racing thoughts and when Pitta is abnormal it exhibits as anger, irritability, frustration, judgment. The action and qualities of the liquid used for Shirodhara balances the qualities of the abnormal Doshas. It soothes, nourishes and pacifies the doshas through the application of the liquid to the forehead, scalp and nervous system. Shirodhara is beneficial for all types of psychological and mental disorders. It reduces stress by inducing relaxation and stimulating secretion of more serotonin in the brain. It produces sensations on the head, which pass through the superficial nerves to the brain and brings calmness and relaxation. This calmness and relaxation also results in secretion of more serotonin levels in the brain, which reduces mental stress and helps in depression.
Shirodhara therapy course depends on the severity of problem and diseases of the person. In general it is prescribed for minimum 7 to 28 days. If it is necessary to do more settings, Shirodhara should be skipped for 1 or 2 weeks and then a new therapy course can be continued.
Generally, herbal oils, decoctions, buttermilk and cow milk processed with other herbs are used for Shirodhara.
1. Taila Dhara: Herbal oils are used in this type of Dhara.
2. Takra Dhara: Buttermilk is used as the main ingredient of pouring liquid.
3. Kwatha Dhara: Decoctions made from various herbs as per condition and Dosha of the person are used in Kwatha Dhara.
4. Dugadha Dhara or Ksheera-dhara: Cow milk is used as the main ingredient in this type of Dhara.
5. Jala Dhara: Coconut water or water is used in the conditions of heat in the body or Pitta diseases.
Shirodhara is beneficial in all diseases of forehead, head or nervous system. It is mainly indicated medically in following cases:
3. Cerebral palsy
5. Insomnia (sleeplessness or difficulties in sleeping)
6. Eye diseases
7. Loss of memory
8. Greying of hairs
9. Tinnitus (Ringing sensation in the ears)
10. Psychosomatic diseases like anxiety or neurosis, depression, etc.