The Wonders of Shirodhara

As many of you know, Ayurveda has unique body treatments.  Probably the most unique and representative of Ayurveda here in the west is the Shirodhara warm oil treatment.  What is shirodhara?,  you ask.  Well,  you’ve come to the right place.  In this month’s article, I elaborate on what to expect in a Shirodhara treatment and the reasons why everyone should receive shirodhara on a regular basis.  Enjoy!

often prescribed to reduce the vata dosha...

often prescribed to reduce the vata dosha…

The Procedure
Shirodhara, in sanskrit meaning head (shiro) flow (dhara), is an extremely relaxing treatment in which a skilled therapist systematically pours herbalized warm oil from a copper vessel onto the forehead for twenty to forty-five minutes.  The oil flows from the forehead, into the hair, and then into a vessel which is most likely placed on top of a warming device of some kind, such as a hot plate.  It is then recirculated to the head.  The oil is full of herbs such as  ashwagandha, shitavari, and bringaraj-just to name a few.  The result of the continuous flow of oil is deep relaxation of the mind, the slowing of the breath, and an overall Sattvic demeanor.

Marma Therapy
Shirodhara has the power to calm the mind because the entire treatment focuses on the stimulation of one of the most important points in the body called Ajna, sometimes called Sthapani marma.  Ajna, which is located a little shorter than an inch above the mid point between the eyebrows, regulates tarpaka kapha, helps with memory, concentration, and instilling peace in the mind.  Also, according to Dr. Lad, it is great for eye, nose, and head pathologies including glaucoma and sinus issues.

ajna chakra by pieter weltevrede

ajna chakra by pieter weltevrede

Chakra Therapy
Beyond marma point stimulation, Shirodhara also helps to awaken the sixth chakra, which is also called Ajna.  Ajna chakra is the chakra responsible for insight, intuition, and clarity.  It is often said that this is the best place to focus during meditation.  As many of you know, this chakra is associated to the pituitary gland. Thus, shirodhara has a profound effect on the entire endocrine system.

Shirodhara on Every Street Corner
I had a teacher at the Ayurvedic Institute talk about the need in this country for a shirodhara treatment center on every street corner.  How different our culture would be if we did!  Shirodhara warm oil treatment is an amazing experience.  If you are in need of some deep nourishment, call and schedule one with your local Ayurvedic practitioner today. Namaste.

Melissa Camacho, guest writer, is a licensed acupuncturist and Ayurvedic practitioner in Sedona. To contact her, please click  here.
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