Shirodhara The Magical Flow of Relaxation

Ayurveda is an ancient healing system that works in harmony with nature to offer holistic healing to the body. Ayurveda is not just about medicine. It is a healing system that focuses on instilling the proper food practice, exercise routine, and medications in suitable quantities to balance the elements in the body. Every Ayurvedic practitioner decides the best course of treatment after an in-depth lifestyle analysis.

One of the most widely practiced procedures that have gained immense attention is the Shirodhara treatment which has a strict protocol that needs to be followed diligently.

The following blog gives you a general overview. However, we sincerely advise you to consult our Ayurvedic practitioners if you feel the need to get this therapy done.

Shirodhara Ayurvedic Treatment

Shirodhara treatment is one of the most purifying therapies of Ayurveda. We understand that the word Shirodhara comes from two Sanskrit words - 'Shiro' meaning head and 'Dhara' meaning stream, which summarizes the procedure. The procedure works in multiple layers and focuses on aligning the life forces, doshas, and gunas inside the body.

Working of the Shirodhara in Ayurveda

If you like water, imagine standing under a waterfall. The continuously falling stream has a magical quality to dissipate your tensions and automatically relax you. The same principle applies here, but on a different level.

Shirodhara uses a gentle stream of liquid falling from a Shirodhara copper pot over a specific point on the forehead to provide systematic healing. The Ayurveda Shirodhara involves pouring herbal decoction over the head to stimulate the hypothalamus through peripheral nerves. Thus, the therapy regulates the hormones by activating the hypothalamus, relaxing both mind and body. 

The Shirodhara massage exfoliates dead cells, transports lymphatic fluids, improves blood circulation, and eases doshas. Thus, it works systematically to eliminate ama or toxins from the body and rejuvenate the body from the inside.

Often it also forms part of Panchakarma treatment, which also focuses on eliminating the toxins from the body in various steps.

Benefits of Shirodhara

We said that Shirodhara is a widely known therapy, but we need to understand the benefits before undergoing the process. Brain waves respond to external stimuli. A gentle, repetitive process of pouring a stream over the forehead is enough to activate the Ajna Marma point to dispel anxiety. 

Further, the therapy also induces deep relaxation or meditative trance. As we all know, meditation leads to psychosomatic harmony, creating stillness inside the mind. When the mind relaxes, the brain slips from a hyper-alert state or normal state, leading to a state of calmness. The process is scientifically known as the "phase of transition" from beta to alpha waves. An increase in the alpha waves in the brain helps the brain function better and maximizes its working abilities.

The increase in Shirodhara benefits on the brain makes the benefits of the process multifold. Some benefits include the following:

  • Relieves depression, anxiety, and stress by activating the hypothalamus regions and balancing the secretion of hormones
  • Manages insomnia by reducing stress and anxiety levels.
  • Enhances blood circulation in the head region because of activation of Ajna Chakra
  • Alleviates stress-induced migraine and headaches
  • Improves concentration and cognitive abilities 
  • Since the stream flows on the 'Ajna Chakra,' people who have undergone the therapy report a boost in intuition and memory.
  • Soothes Vata dosha
  • Reduces stress on eyes as well as reduces eye problems.
  • Effective treatment for hair loss and premature greying of hair
  • As it dilates blood vessels by activating the Ajna Chakra, it is an effective treatment for hypertension.

Protocols of Shirodhara

The ancient healing system has a distinct set of procedures to be followed. Before beginning the process, the Ayurvedic expert performs a detailed analysis of the body type of the person undergoing the treatment. Once this is done, based on the 'ruthu or season,' they determine the best time for the procedure. They mostly do it either in the morning or evening.

  • Gently massage the scalp for 10 minutes before starting the procedure with the prescribed medicated oil.
  • Lie back on the table with a small pillow or rolled towel under the neck to enable the backward flow of the medicated oil.
  • The practitioner then tunes the distance of the pot above the forehead. 
  • After determining the frequency at which the liquid or the medicated oil flows onto the forehead as a gentle stream, they pour the medicated oil into the pot and start the stream.
  • During the entire process, the practitioner stays with you. They oscillate the pot in different directions to let the oil spread evenly and soak the scalp.

The above process lasts for 20-30 minutes in one instance. The cycle may be repeated more than once over a few days if deemed necessary by the ayurvedic doctor.

After the treatment, rest for 40-60 minutes to let the oil seep inside the head and work its charm before washing it off with lukewarm water.

Different types of Shirodhara Ayurveda therapy

Based on the liquid or medicated oils used, we can classify Shirodhara therapy into the following types:

  • Thaila Dhara involves using a single or mixture of oils for the procedure.
  • Ksheeradhara uses milk as the principal ingredient
  • Takradhara used buttermilk as the primary ingredient
  • Kwathadhara enhances the experience by using a decoction of a variety of herbs.
  • Jaladhara primarily uses coconut water to reduce Vata dosha in the body.


Shirodhara is a highly beneficial therapy if done right. The ancient Ayurvedic scriptures place conditions on when to avoid treatment.

  • Women in the last trimester of pregnancy
  • Allergic reaction to medicated oils or herbal decoctions
  • If a person is prone to nausea, fatigue, or extreme sweating
  • A person is suffering from a neck injury, brain tumor
  • If there are abrasions or cuts on the forehead

One should undergo Shirodhara Ayurvedic therapy under the guidance of an experienced professional. In this regard, you can consult VAYU, one of the most trusted Ayurvedic hospitals in Bangalore. Contact us through 9845854015 to learn more about this healing treatment and gain from its potential to the fullest.

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