Shirodhara (Shear-O-Daur-UH) is an Ayurvedic Body Therapy, in which warm oil is poured across the forehead. Shiro means head, and Dhara means pour. Therefore, Shirodhara means simply “to pour on the head”. Over the years the process has changed slightly with the modern invention of machines, but at its core, is still the same practice. Shirodara is one of the most prominent Ayurvedic Therapies practiced in the West, with many benefits, this therapy is simplistic, yet utterly profound. In today’s society, we often live in the “Go, go, go!” mentality. Constantly running from one task to the next, we are rarely left with a moment of stillness to provide introspection. For many, it might even feel impossible to “turn our thoughts off” and to become fully present. A Shirodhara therapy cultivates this sacred space of stillness, it allows for the mind to once again remain at rest. This stillness is especially useful for Vata types, particularly when they feel as if their mind needs to slow down.
What are the benefits of Shirodhara:
The benefits of Shirodhara become crystal clear after one is experienced it for the first time. A spiritual occurrence for some, and for others a rare moment of tranquility, Shirodhara has benefits both far and wide in regard to the brain. The purpose of Shirodhara is to simply apply oil to the head. With this application of oil onto the forehead, the mind can be greatly relaxed, calming the Nervous System and removing emotional imbalances.
- Loss of Hair
- Fatigue and Mental Exhaustion
- Psychological Disorders
- Awakening the Third Eye (Ajna Chakra)
- Invigorating the Body and Mind
- Deep Relaxation
- Clears and Calms the Mind
- Counteracts the Effects of Stress
- Reduces Anxiety
- Awakens Intuition
- Improves Sleep
- Improves Cognitive Abilities
- Improves functions of the 5 senses
The Qualities of Oleation
The main qualities, or Gunas in Sanskrit, of oil, are Heavy, Moist, and Stable. The Heavy and Stable qualities help to combat Rajas (The aspect of movement in the mind). When the movement of the mind is stilled, it leads to a remembrance of the true Self. The Moist quality helps to lubricate the nerves, which is especially helpful in situations of mental burnout. The qualities of the herbs and type of oil used can alter the therapeutic intention and the experience that you receive during the treatment.
As with many other Ayurvedic Therapies, Senhana which means: Oleation, is emphasized once again. Oil, a heavy and tonifying substance, imparts these same qualities into the mind and nervous system when it is applied to the forehead during the therapy. As the frequency and duration of the therapy increase, added tonification occurs within the brain. This tonification is the causative factor to the benefits listed above.
A Site-Specific Therapy:
The location on the forehead where the oil is poured is significant. The forehead is the location of the Ajna Chakra (The Third Eye). This chakra acts as an aperture into the emotional mind when oil and/or herbs are applied at this point. Located directly and entirely superior (towards the top of the head) is the Sahasra Padma Chakra (The Crown Chakra). This Chakra is located at the center of the parietal bones on the anterior fontanelle. This is the location of the “soft spot” of newborn infants in the center/top of the head. As the oil drips across the forehead and down over the crown; it influences the energetic state of the Chakra, acting as a portal into the deeper subconscious mind.