Shirodhara: An Ayurvedic Approach to Stress Relief

Shirodhara: An Ayurvedic Approach to Stress Relief

The word “shiro” means “to heal.” The word “dar” means “water,” and the word “har” means healing.

So what does all this mean? What are some of the benefits of using shiro?

1) Healing the body from stress.

When stressed out or anxious, our bodies produce chemicals called glucocorticoids (from the Latin root cort-, meaning “hold”). These hormones cause inflammation and pain throughout our body.

They also lead to fatigue, weakness, weight loss, and even depression.

2) Relaxing the mind.

Our minds tend to wander when we’re under pressure; therefore they become agitated and irritable. By relaxing the mind, we calm ourselves down and reduce stress levels.

3) Improving memory.

Studies have shown that stress affects how well we remember things. If you relax your mind, it will be able to focus better on other tasks, thus improving your memory.

4) Reducing blood sugar levels.

Glucose is a type of energy used by the brain and nervous system to function properly. Too much glucose causes anxiety and makes us feel tired and weak.

One of the main causes of high blood sugar is stress.

5) Reducing or stopping pain.

Too much stress causes a lot of tension in our bodies, especially in the muscles and skin. This can cause pain and discomfort, so by relaxing the muscles, we can reduce or stop the pain altogether.

6) Reducing insomnia.

Some people find it hard to sleep when they are stressed out about work or personal problems. These feelings of stress can be eliminated by proper relaxation techniques.

These are just some of the many benefits. To find out more about shirodhara, talk to your local therapist or visit an online forum to learn more about the topic.

Shirodhara: An Ayurvedic Approach to Stress Relief

Shirodhara is an ancient Indian technique used to calm the body and mind. It involves pouring liquid oil on “third eye,” or the point between the eyebrows on the forehead.

While the liquid flows over the skin, it releases tension throughout the skull, jaw, temples, and cheeks. The areas above and below the eyes also benefit from this treatment.

The liquid is typically medicated with herbs to provide further relief from specific ailments, such as:





In many cases, a steam treatment is given either before or after the shirodhara. The steam opens up the pores, making the skin softer and oil more effective.

It also allows the liquid to enter the blood vessels, promoting healing from within. Along with health benefits, it gives a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.

This treatment has been used for centuries to calm and heal the mind and body. It is one of the most popular treatments in Indian spas today.

The Origins of Shirodhara

In addition to being an important part of Ayurveda, shirodhara is gaining popularity in the West as a holistic therapy for stress relief. It is commonly given in Indian spas, where it has been adapted to meet Western tastes.

It is said that the origins of shirodhara lie in ancient spiritual practices. In ancient times, there were many meditation techniques used to clear the mind and open the consciousness.

These methods still exist today, although not as popular as they once were.

One of these methods involved lying down with the legs raised above the body. This caused the brain to be bathed in a liquid colloid, or “cerebrospinal liquid,” found inside the skull.

This practice is still used today for therapeutic reasons. Lying down with the legs raised can relieve pain and produce a feeling of relaxation throughout the body.

It is even more beneficial when complemented with the shirodhara treatment.

Shirodhara Ayurvedic Treatment

Shirodhara involves the slow and steady pouring of medicated liquid over the forehead, usually from a height of about 12 inches. The liquid forms a puddle that slowly runs down the sides of the face, eventually dripping off the chin.

The practitioner carefully watches the puddle of oil to make sure it doesn’t get too thick or too thin. Too thin, and it will not carry the medication into the skin. Too thick, and it will not flow properly off the face.

This procedure is typically carried out while the recipient is in a seated position, leaning slightly forwards. This allows the liquids to easily flow off the face and onto a bowl positioned below the chin.

There are many different ways to give this treatment, depending on the ailment being treated. Normally, a dark oil is used for deep-seated ailments. Restless children may receive a lighter oil.

The oil used in shirodhara is not limited to herbs and medication. Some oils are scented with flowers, while others have added minerals for color.

Each type of oil has its own recipe and all have been passed down from generation to generation.

Some spas choose to adapt shirodhara by using a steaming machine instead of liquid oil. The steam is usually infused with the same herbs that are used in the oil.

The steam is then released onto the recipient’s forehead. While this type of treatment has gained in popularity, purists insist that the steaming method has no benefits over the traditional oil method.

Benefits of Shirodhara

Shirodhara is one of the best ways to relieve stress and promote relaxation. It provides an outlet for daily stress and tension, while encouraging overall relaxation.

Shirodhara can also be used to treat many common ailments. It is a common Ayurvedic remedy for skin diseases, eye problems, and indigestion.

Shirodhara is also used in the treatment of mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. It can be used to balance the three doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha).

Shirodhara is especially useful in treating Vata dosha, which is known to cause nervous disorders and restlessness.

Most people seek out this treatment to relieve stress; however, it is not a quick fix. It takes time for the brain to re-adjust itself.

People who suffer from mental disorders may be under medication, which may cause unwanted side effects. Most people find that shirodhara relieves their anxiety and promotes a restful sleep. It may take up to six months before you see any results. It is best to seek out this treatment from a professional as improper use may cause unwanted side effects.

Shirodhara Today

Shirodhara is still widely used today. It has become more popular in the United States during the last thirty years, as awareness of natural treatments increases and word spreads about the amazing benefits of this therapy.

Many spas and wellness facilities offer shirodhara. While the treatment is wonderful on its own, most people prefer to combine it with a massage or facial.

This allows them to enjoy all the benefits that shirodhara has to offer, while making the whole experience more enjoyable.

Shirodhara Resources

Want to know more about the benefits of shirodhara?

At-home versions of this treatment are available. You can learn more about them by visiting the links on this page.

Have you ever tried shirodhara? What was your experience like?

We’d love to hear about it! Tell us in the comments section below.

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Sources & references used in this article:

Shirodhara: A psycho-physiological profile in healthy volunteers by KD Dhuri, PV Bodhe, AB Vaidya – Journal of Ayurveda and …, 2013 –

The role of psychic factors in pathogenesis of essential hypertension and its management by Shirodhara and Sarpagandha Vati by C Kundu, VD Shukla, MA Santwani, NN Bhatt – Ayu, 2010 –

Role of yoga-nidra and shirodhara on hypertensive patients by S Devi, S Kala – International journal of yoga and allied sciences, 2015 –

Feasibility and pilot efficacy testing of integrated yoga and Shirodhara (Ayurvedic oil-dripping) intervention on clinical symptoms, cognitive functions and sleep … by D Hegde, PH Bhargav, H Bhargav, H Babu… – … Journal of Yoga, 2020 –

An appraisal of the mechanism of action of shirodhara by K Divya, JS Tripathi, SK Tiwari – Annals of Ayurvedic …, 2013 –