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Shirodhara-Ayurvedic Resort Goa


Shirodhara massage is a classic Ayurvedic therapy, which includes pouring of warm herbal oil on the forehead in a continuous stream. Ayurvedic Shirodhara therapy is very effective in promoting sound sleep and reducing stress. Shirodhara treatment is one among the Bahiparimarjana chikitsa, or external treatments told in Ayurveda. The term Shirodhara comes from two words “Shira” meaning head and “Dhara” meaning stream.

Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiro (head) and dhara (flow). The liquids used in shirodhara depend on what is being treated, but can include oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water.
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What is Shirodhara?

The Shirodhara technique is a therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiro and dhara. The liquids used in shirodhara depend on what is being treated, but can include oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water.

Shirodhara has been used to treat a variety of conditions including eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, greying of hair, neurological disorders, memory loss,insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus vertigo, Ménière's disease and certain types of skin diseases like. It is also used non-medicinally at for its relaxing properties. Studies report that Ayurvedic Shirodhara is a safe option to improve sleep quality among people who have sleep problems. Shirodhara is also effective in treating mental conditions such as anxiety, and mental stress. The calming effect produced by Shirodhara is similar to that obtained with meditation.

There are specialized forms of shirodhara called ksheeradhara, taildhar>

Shirodhara may begin with a full body massage known as Abhyangam. Shirodhara also involves a head massage. Shirodhara is thought to work by relaxing the hypothalamus in the brain. It can also normalize the functions of hormones that regulate sleep and emotions.

Shirodhara massage is a classic Ayurvedic therapy, which includes pouring of warm herbal oil on the forehead in a continuous stream. Ayurvedic Shirodhara therapy is very effective in promoting sound sleep and reducing stress. Shirodhara treatment is one among the Bahiparimarjana chikitsa, or external treatments told in Ayurveda. The term Shirodhara comes from two words “Shira” meaning head and “Dhara” meaning stream.

Shirodhara, a form of treatment, is a word which comprises of two terms ‘shiro’ meaning head and ‘dhara’ meaning pouring in stream or sprinkling. It is an ancient Ayurvedic healing practice which has been performed in India for about the last 5000 years. This treatment has immense impact on the nervous system. It immediately acts to calm and relax your mind and has a cleansing effect on the nerves.


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We briefly explain Shirodhara Massage – Treatment, Benefits & Side effects.


How Does Shirodhara Massage Treatment Work?

Pouring of warm oils used stimulates and soothes the hypothalamus, thereby regulating the functions of the pituitary gland and inducing sleep. Shirodhara stimulates Marma’s or Vital Points in the head and improves circulation. The warm oils used for Shirodhara also cause vasodilatation of all the channels and thereby improve the blood circulation of the brain. Shirodhara also reduces the level of stress hormones such as Adrenaline and Noradrenaline and thus relaxes the mind.


Shirodhara is extremely beneficial for people suffering from imbalance of Vata and Pitta. A person suffers from feelings of fear, insecurity and worry when his/her Vata is out of balance. Imbalance of Pitta can cause a person to become angry, frustrated, irritated and even cause him to lose the sense of right and wrong. Shirodhara involves the use of such liquids that help to counter the negative effects of the out-of-balance doshas or conditions. The liquid soothes and pacifies the doshas when applied to the forehead, scalp and nervous system.

Shirodhara not only helps to reduce stress and soothe the nervous system but it has other beneficial effects as well. It can treat insomnia, bring relief from migraines, lowers high blood pressure, decreases hair loss, reduces stress and even helps to increase mental focus and concentration.


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Types of Shirodhara:

  • Tailadhara - Beneficial for reducing Vata dosha in the body.

  • Takradhara - Beneficial for reducing Pitta dosha and is good for hypothermia or low body temperature while also maintaining homeostasis which is the body’s ability to maintain internal stability despite changes in external conditions.

  • Ksheeradhara - Helps nourishing and relaxing the body.

  • Kashayadhara - Helps in reducing Vata and Kapha dosa and is considered therapeutic for various other conditions as well.


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Shirodhara Massage Therapy - Stepwise Procedure

Shirodhara is usually practised in the morning or evening. Depending on the ‘Dravya’ (medicated or non-medicated liquids), it can be called as Tailadhara, Takradhara, Kashayadhara and Jaladhara. Shirodhara is also included as one among the Murdhataila (four special procedures in Ayurveda for the head).

  • Shirodhara massage treatment begins with Abhyangam (Ayurvedic body massage).

  • You need to lie down on the massage table with closed eyes and relax your body.

  • Shirodhara starts with the pouring of about 2 litres lukewarm oil continuously as a stream on to the forehead in an oscillating manner.

  • The time duration of Shirodhara treatment may extend from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the condition of the patient. It is important to make sure that the oil does not enter eyes or ears and is therefore recommended to be performed by an experienced therapist

  • You may also be given a mild head massage before or during Shirodhara. Shirodhara may also include pouring of buttermilk, decoctions or even water.

Shirodhara treatment is a classic Ayurvedic therapy that includes pouring of warm herbal oil on the forehead in continuous stream. Ayurvedic Shirodhara treatment is very effective in promoting sound sleep and reducing stress. Shirodhara is one among the Bahiparimarjana chikitsa or external treatments told in Ayurveda. The term Shirodhara comes from two words, "Shira" meaning head and "Dhara" meaning stream.

Shirodhara is usually practiced in the morning or in evening. The procedure required you to lie down on the table with closed eyes. Shirodhara may first begin with abhyangam (Ayurvedic body massage). After abhyangam, the procedure for shirodhara is started which involves pouring of about 2 litres luke warm oil continuously as a stream on to the forehead in an oscillating manner.
The time duration of Shirodhara treatment may extend from 30 to 60 minutes depending on the condition of the patient. It is important to make sure that the oil does not enter eyes or ears and is therefore recommended to be performed by an experienced therapist. You may also be given a mild head massage before or during shirodhara.
Shirodhara may also include pouring of buttermilk, decoctions or even water. Depending on the dravya (medicated or non-medicated liquids) it can be called as Tailadhara, Takradhara, Kashayadhara and Jaladhara. Shirodhara is also included as one among the Murdhataila (four special procedures told in Ayurveda for head).

  • Begins with abhyangam (Ayurvedic body massage)

  • You need to lie down on massage table and relax your body

  • Shirodhara starts with pouring of about 2 litres luke warm oil on your forehead

  • The pouring of warm oil extend from 30 to 60 minutes

  • A light head massage is given before or during shirodhara


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What are Shirodhara Massage Benefits?

  • The benefits of Shirodhara massage include treatment of Sleep problems, Memory loss, Poor concentration, Chronic headaches, Stress, Mental tension, Hypertension, Facial Paralysis and Degenerative conditions of the brain. The medicated oils absorbed through the scalp stimulate the hair follicles, and hence Shirodhara is a vital therapy to treat hair problems such as Premature greying of hair or Hair fall.

  • Deeply relaxes mind and body

  • Improves sensitivity of five senses

  • Reduces Vata dosha

  • Improves sleep

  • Recommended for hair care

  • Headache, burning sensation in the head

  • Insomnia, parasomnias

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Depressive illness

  • 5. Schizophrenia

  • Motor Neuron Diseases

  • Cerebral Ataxia

  • Hypertension

  • Skin Disorders- Psoriasis

  • Psychosis, epilepsy, fainting, confusion, alcoholism etc. 


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Can Shirodhara cause any side effects?

Shirodhara is generally a safe methods. However, precaution needs to be taken to prevent the oil from entering into the eyes or nose. It is therefore advisable to go to a professional Ayuevedic clinic and get shirodhara procedure done from experienced therapists. At NuAyurveda, all the therapists are well-trained and experienced who perform the Shirodhara Treatment skilfully. If you wish to know the cost of shirodhara at NuAyurveda clinic, book appointment for consultation and discuss the details with our doctors.

Shirodhara is a very beneficial treatment and there are no serious side-effects associated with the treatment. However, some people may experience a feeling of heaviness in the head. Some people can get a bit dizzy while the chances of giddiness may increase for people if they had kept their eyes open during the treatment.


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Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

  • A person suffering from anxiety disorder, stress, hypertension, fatigue, tension, worry, head ache and depression can opt for this Ayurvedic treatment.

  • Furthermore, shirodhara oils mixed with nervine herbs can be useful for people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • A person suffering from insomnia is also eligible for this treatment as the process helps to stimulate the pineal gland which produces the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.

  • A person suffering from high blood pressure will also find this treatment to be beneficial.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

  • Women in the final phases of pregnancy should not opt for this treatment.

  • A person who has an aversion to oil is not eligible for this treatment.

  • Other people who are not eligible include people suffering from brain tumor, neck injury, cuts or abrasions on the forehead or fever.

  • People with some acute illness or suffering from nausea, vomiting, exhaustion, fatigue or spontaneous sweating are not eligible for this treatment.


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What are the post-treatment guidelines?

  • People, who have undergone this treatment, will have to remove the oil from their hair. It is better to add shampoo to hair first and then use water to wash the hair. This is because the shampoo will stick to the hair and ensure that is properly cleaned.

  • Caffeine should be avoided for a few days after the treatment as caffeine has a negative effect on the nervous system.

  • A person should use warm water for bathing and drinking purposes.

  • A person should also go for a light diet and avoid eating oily food.

How long does it take to recover?

Shirodhara treatment lasts for about 30 minutes to 60 minutes and it provides immediate relief. A person does not require any such time to recover from the treatment.


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Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Shirodhara provides relief from nervous disorders and may also help to reduce blood pressure, induce sleep and reduce hair loss. However, this is an Ayurvedic treatment that produces immediate results. But a person can get affected by anxiety or stress or sleep disorders after a certain time after completing the treatment. The results are, hence, not permanent and a person may have to opt for the treatment again. Permanent results may be obtained by undergoing this treatment over a long period of time.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic therapy that has been practiced for centuries in India. It is a unique treatment of using medicated oil or milk on the forehead of an individual to cure him/her of certain conditions. There is, therefore, no alternative to this treatment.

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Article By : Ajit Shirodkar

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