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How Shirodhara Helps Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Improve Sleep?

What is Shirodhara?

Shirodhara is a healing technique that involves pouring a liquid such as milk, buttermilk, oil, or water, onto the forehead.

‘Shiro’ means head and ‘Dhara’ means flow. Ayurveda is a holistic approach that focuses on rebalancing life forces known as doshas, within the body.

How Shirodhara Helps Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Improve Sleep?

How Shirodhara Helps Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Improve Sleep?

Shirodhara has a calming, soothing, and relaxing effect on the body and mind.

It helps improve sleep quality, reduce stress, manage insomnia, and lessen anxiety(1, 2)

It is an amazing and unique body therapy from Ayurveda that impacts the nervous system.

Counteracts Effects of Stress

Shirodhara is an ideal treatment for reducing stress. It induces calmness, promotes tranquillity, and relaxes the body.

Reduces Anxiety

By repeated gentle stimulation to the center of the forehead, Shirodhara treatment reduces anxiety. It does so by stimulating the powerful energy points in the forehead.

A study concluded that after Shirodhara there was an increase in alpha rhythm in EEG that is associated with a decrease in anxiety and an increase in serenity(3)

Improves Sleep Quality

Lack of sleep has numerous reasons, exhaustion and lethargy being amongst them. People with sleep disorders have less powerful alpha wave activity and powerful beta wave activity(4)

Shirodhara helps improve sleep quality and also the quality of life.(5)

How is Shirodhara Procedure Done?

How is Shirodhara Procedure Done?

The best way to get Shirodhara procedure done is by looking for a professional specialized in Ayurvedic practices.

At the start of the Shirodhara procedure, the individual is asked to lie down on the back and relax. The liquid is heated so that it matches the body temperature. It is then placed in a bowl. The practitioner holds the bowl over the head or keeps it on the stand with the bowl just over the head.

There is a small hole in the bottom of the bowl that drips the liquid onto the area on the forehead between the brows. The eyes are protected with a lightweight barrier for protection.

Shirodhara procedure mostly lasts from 30-90 minutes. A massage is also given either before or after the treatment.

Liquids Used in Shirodhara

The preference for liquid depends on the practitioner. They may also choose liquids depending on the effects of liquids.

Sesame oil is used as a medium for other essential oils and also to enhances the experience. Brahmi oil is used for moderate to severe insomnia and also aids in recovery from stress, debility, and aggravation.

Bala oil is beneficial for effects on sensory organs and to maintain patient calm. It has a tranquilizing effect and induces sleep.

Lavender oil stimulates the olfactory nerves and sends impulses to the hypothalamus to soothe the mood.

Other oils that are used for Shirodhara are:

  • Coconut oil
  • Ksheerabala oil
  • Mahanarayan oil
  • Clarified butter

Also, a few practitioners use:

  • Water
  • Buttermilk
  • Animal milk
  • Coconut water

A variety of Ayurvedic herbs are also used in addition to the essential oils.

The Risk Involved with Shirodhara

Shirodhara is a safe procedure and does not involve any risk. The only factor involved is that the liquid used should not be too hot as it can cause burns.

Those with extra sensitive skin should go for a patch test first, to make sure the liquid used does not irritate the skin. When using essential oil diluting them with a carrier oil is a must.

In case, of cuts and burns on the face, wait before going ahead with the Shirodhara procedure.

Some Ayurvedic practitioners give Shirodhara and also some wellness spas. If wanting to go ahead with it, look for good genuine Ayurvedic centers with certified practitioners and be sure to inform them about any medical condition, if suffering from.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 9, 2021

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