Dripping oil massage therapy: Shirodhara

The Indian historical healing system, Ayurveda, has its roots stretched to n number of techniques. This science of life with all its techniques has only one main aim, i.e. to create a balance between the mind, soul, and body. One such wonderful technique that we will come across today is Shirodhara therapy

What is Shirodhara therapy?  

This word is made up of two different words, Shiro means head and Dhara means flow. This therapy involves massage of the head or body using some kind of liquid, usually oil. Oil or mixture of some oils is poured on the forehead from a certain height in a continuous stream for a specified time. 


While most massage techniques work on the outer layer, Shirodhara works on many layers of the human being. It has many other names such as Sirothara, Shiro sheka, Dhara, Shiro Parisheka, etc. 


Different types of Shirodhara massage

The therapy is divided into different types based on the different types of oils used. The categories are:

  1. Taila Dhara – when a single oil or a mixture of oils is used for treatment. 
  2. Dugadha Dhara – The main ingredient used here is milk. 
  3. Takra Dhara – The main ingredient used here is buttermilk. 
  4. Kwatha Dhara – The dosha imbalance is diagnosed and based on that different herbs are mixed to make the decoction which is the main ingredient. 
  5. Jala Dhara – The main ingredient here is coconut water which is usually used for pitta imbalance. 


How does Shirodhara work? 

The infusion of herbs and oils and other liquids are poured into the head and flow down to the hair. It produces a calming sensation on the muscles of your head. This now passes through the peripheral nerves of your forehead and soothes the hypothalamus. It treats the conditions of insomnia by regulating the activity of the pituitary gland. 


Apart from that, it stimulates your vital points and improves the blood circulation in your head. It also stabilizes your moods by bringing down the increased levels of serotonin. It reduces the levels of adrenaline which is the stress hormone. 


What does Shirodhara treat? 

When its main ingredients are mixed with herbs, it can treat many conditions:

  • Neurological disorders
  • Hearing damages 
  • Insomnia 
  • Memory loss 
  • Greying of hair 
  • Vertigo 
  • Eye diseases, etc. 


Ksheer Bala Tailam which is a mixture of cow’s milk, sesame oil, and Bala herb paste is mostly used. There are other oils such as Karpasasthyadi tailam, Narayana tailam, Chandanadi tailam, etc. 


What procedure is used? 

  1. Massage your scalp 10 minutes prior to the procedure. 


  1. Lie on the Shirodhara table on your back. Keep something soft like a towel under your neck for support.


  1. Hang the pot in such a way that the oil directly falls over the head of the patient. 


  1. Make sure the oil falls in a continuous stream. 


  1. The pot should waver so that the oil falls from one side of the forehead to another.


  1.  Recollect the oil from the table and heat it again. 


  1. Do this process for about 30 minutes. 


Remember: Take a bath after 30 minutes using warm water. 

                    Avoid caffeinated products and use medicated shampoos.