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Shirodhara Therapy: Benefits and Important Details!

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

By Isabel Kirschner

Shirodhara Therapy: Benefits and Important Details!

What is Shirodhara?

The therapeutic effects of hair massage induce pleasure, and this makes you forget your worldly worries and drift off to sleep faster.

Shirodhara is a more relaxed and therapeutic head massage experience that offers immense physical and mental benefits. So if you think a head massage is great, Shirodhara is even better. In this, a light massage is given at the end after dripping oil on the forehead. And yes, it is just as relaxing as it sounds.

In simple terms, Shirodhara therapy can be described as pouring medicated oil over the forehead. Let's understand the procedure in detail.

In this Ayurvedic therapy, the person receiving the treatment lies down on the back. Next, warm, medicated oil is poured over the forehead from a certain height in the next step. The oil then flows around the forehead and down to the scalp, which is then gently massaged into the skin by the practitioner.

While a regular head massage may induce sleep and relaxation and strengthen the hair follicles, Shirodhara's benefits go above and beyond. It's a divine process that helps exfoliate dead skin, relieve stress, improve blood circulation, pacify elevated doshas and transport lymphatic fluids.

When performed by an experienced practitioner, Shirodhara can help purge toxins, reduce mental fatigue and improve brain function.

According to Ayurveda, Shirodhara treatment uses medicated oil, milk-based solution, herbal decoction, or aqueous formulation. It depends on the therapeutic benefits you seek.

How it Works

When the medicated oil or any herbal decoction is poured over the forehead, it creates a soothing sensation. This sensation goes to the hypothalamus via the peripheral nerves.

Hypothalamus is responsible for inhibiting or releasing hormones in response to physical or emotional stimuli. As a result, the secondary hormones throughout the body become active and trigger a suitable response.

Shirodhara can help regulate these hormones and bring balance to your mind and body. It can help relieve stress, promote restful sleep, and calm an agitated mind. In addition, using warm medicated oil can dilate the blood vessels and improve blood circulation, thereby enhancing brain function and beating mental fatigue.

Interestingly, Shirodhara also regulates the level of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a good hormone that helps stabilize your mood and make you feel grounded. However, abnormally high serotonin levels do the opposite. High serotonin levels are characterized by profuse sweating, shivering, the sensation of diarrhea, restlessness, etc. Shirodhara is a potent therapy for promoting calmness and overcoming chronic stress.

If you feel burnt out due to overwhelming work pressure or struggle to cope with a personal loss, Shirodhara therapy can help you find peace and soothe your tense nerves.

Benefits of Shirodhara

Shirodhara is an extensive therapy performed in a purpose-built setting using specialized techniques and ingredients to maximize the health benefits. Some of the significant benefits of Shirodhara:

Activates Intuition

Shirodhara therapy is believed to open the 'third eye,' resulting in a heightened sense of mindfulness. Buddhists define it as spiritual awakening or complete awareness that enables a person to observe their past trauma and painful experiences from a different perspective, which was not accessible previously. Tapping into a different vantage point gives them mental clarity and the willpower to move forward in life.

Improves Sleep

When was the last time you slept like a baby? Can't recall? You might blame your mattress or the weather for your inability to fall asleep, but in most cases, it's the hyperactive mind or a neurological condition. Shirodhara is a sleep-inducing therapy. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will lull you to sleep right away. Rather, it works sustainably. It relaxes your nerves, calms your mind, and improves your night's sleep.

Reduces Stress

It's a no-brainer that a head massage reduces stress and clears up your mind so you can think and perform better. However, Shirodhara works at a deeper level than that. When performed regularly, Shirodhara therapy can help reduce chronic stress and overcome past traumas. It also eases frustrations due to a hindrance in career growth or family disputes.

When things around you get messy and chaotic, Shirodhara is an excellent escape to tranquillity.

Shirodhara Benefits for Eyes

Do your eyes hurt due to extended screen time? While we can't recommend you stop using your devices, a short retreat can compensate for your eyes' strain throughout the day. Shirodhara can help soothe your eyes.

Pacifies Elevated Vata Dosha

Vata dosha is characterized by air and ether. When in excess due to compromised Agni, Vata dosha can lead to various health concerns, such as anxiety, constipation, cracking joints, mild insomnia, and digestive disorders in general. Shirodhara ayurvedic treatment can help pacify Vata dosha and get you back to a state of mind where you experience joy, creativity, and connection.

Improves Cognitive Abilities

There are multiple Shirodhara benefits for the brain, including enhanced cognitive abilities. But what does that mean?

The oils used for Shirodhara therapies have flavonoids, antioxidants, and neuroprotective elements that increase brain function. The treatment is said to boost memory, alertness, and the ability to focus. It's a great oil therapy for the elderly, who are often at risk of memory loss.


Shirodhara is pretty safe. The main risks involve the liquid being too hot or getting into your eyes, which shouldn’t be an issue with an experienced practitioner.

If you have extra-sensitive skin, you might also want to ask about doing a patch test with the liquid first to ensure it won’t cause any irritation. Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil.

If you have any cuts or open wounds, especially on your face, it’s best to hold off trying Shirodhara until they heal.

My Name is Isabel, and I am a CAM Practitioner and currently a student in Ayurveda practice and will soon register with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association, the database for practitioners. Thank you for letting me share this practice with you.

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