Wanting to learn more about how this beautiful Ayurvedic treatment works, I began to look into the many types of shirodhara as well as the health benefits of regular treatments. What I have learned about shirodhara is both beautiful and fascinating.
What is Shirodhara?
Shira means head and dhara means unbroken flow. While relaxing on a warm massage table, a copper bowl or urn is filled with warm oil. Out of a small opening at the bottom of the urn flows a steady stream of warm herbal oil onto the forehead. The direct stream of warm herbal oil stimulates the pineal gland.
According to Swami Sadashiva Tirtha, the author of Ayurveda Natural Secrets to Healing and Longevity, there are many ways to practice shirodhara, but the most common way is to receive the treatment in isolation, or for the very best results it can be in done in a 21 day treatment series. It is believed that the entire body is affected positively by shirodhara.
Benefits of Shirodhara
According to a published study in 2007 conducted by Southern California University, the effects of regular shirodhara treatments result in improved sleep patterns and reduced anxiety.
How it all works
The steady stream of warm oil over the forehead stimulates the pineal gland or the third eye. It helps to calm the nerves and soothe anxiety. It is said that the stream of oil helps the pineal gland to function more efficiently.
The Pineal Gland and Shirodhara
There are many schools of thought which explain the healing benefits of shirodhara treatments, but the one that makes the most sense to me is that the gentle stream of oil over the forehead stimulates the pineal gland in such a way that the circadian rhythm in the body resets itself.
The idea as it is expressed in the Ayurveda Encyclopedia is that the increased melatonin production helps the individual receiving the treatment to sleep better.
Finally, a secondary benefit from a shirodhara treatment is that the oil nourishes your scalp and hair. If you are experiencing dryness, try a shirodhara treatment and judge for yourself. The beauty is in the oil.