Shirodhara is a relaxing and healing ayurvedic practice dating back to the Vedic Period in India. Ayurvedic practice is over 5000 years old and focuses on balancing the elements to heal ailments in the body, mind and spirit. Ayurveda works with the basic elements of fire, water, earth, wind and ether (space/movement). According to Ayurveda, these basic elements combine into body types known as doshas, which form the constitutions of humans, animals, plants and other beings.
In the healing practice of Ayurveda, most of the care is done through food, diet, and lifestyle management. Some preventative and treatment care can also be provided through the use of herbs, plants, roots, tinctures, and other treatments as well. Ayurveda is not a very invasive practice and typically works with preventative care and treatment of ailments before considering surgery, which is only a small part of ayurvedic practice.
Ayurveda hair treatment
Aside from dietary and lifestyle recommendations as well as herbs and supplements, there is an area of Ayurveda that works with treatments. Ayurvedic massage is quite common as a treatment to help balance the doshas, but a less known treatment that is currently gaining in popularity is the practice of Shirodhara.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ayurveda, Shirodhara can seem like a strange treatment that is more like a spa treatment than a healing practice. However, the practice of Ayurveda is very subtle and the use of different oils and temperature in Shirodhara can make it a very deep and potent practice, especially when practiced regularly to keep the doshas in balance.
What is Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is a Sanskrit term that literally translates to ‘head’ and ‘flow’ which refers to the type of treatment in its literal description.
The practice of Shirodhara is a treatment that uses a large quantity of oil that is poured over the patient’s forehead over the course of up to an hour’s time. Over this time, as the oil is slowly poured over the forehead, it seeps down into the hairline, covers the scalp and covers all the hair in a thick coat of oil. Doing so can be strange at first, it can tickle the forehead, or even be unpleasant to some individuals who are more sensitive, but should never be painful or uncomfortable. In some cases, it can be quite pleasurable to have the oil drip over the forehead, and some practitioners describe the Shirodara treatment as a type of massage of the mind.
As the oil drips over the forehead and covers the hair and scalp as well a hairline, it nourishes all the hair follicles, can assist with dry scalp, dry hair, hydrate and moisturize the skin of the scalp, hairline and around the neck and forehead. This can be very beneficial for the hair, especially when repeated regularly such as on a monthly basis or more often.
For comfort and ease of treatment and assimilation of the oil into the body’s tissues, the oil is usually heated before being poured over the forehead. While the temperature can vary according to the client’s needs, as well as throughout a treatment, it is generally at an appropriate temperature to be poured over the skin and is therefore very safe. The temperature can be adjusted to please the client’s preferred sensations, or according to the practitioner’s recommendations in order to balance certain doshas.
While most Shirodhara treatments are done with a selection of oils, it is also possible to do the treatment with other things like milk, buttermilk or even a combination including honey. All the ingredients will be blended by a professional ayurvedic practitioner in order to achieve the best results to balance the doshas.
Regardless of the ingredients used, they are always blended for the individual patient’s constitution and kept warm for assimilation and pleasant enjoyment of the treatment.
The Shirodhara treatment itself is applied to the forehead and affects mostly the hair and scalp, but it can also have great benefits for the rest of the body as the treatment’s effects are integrated into the body and metabolized into their balancing effect for the body’s constitution, keeping the doshas in balance or balancing any elements that are out of alignment with the body’s constitution.
Regular treatment can greatly help in terms of preventative care and treat long standing ailments in a way that diet, supplements and lifestyle recommendations may not be able to address as swiftly.
Off late, there have been various studies on benefits of shirodhara. One such study can be found here.
Ayurveda works with the body’s elements, but also with the energy of the body, mind and spirit. This is why while performing Shirodhara treatment, oil is specifically poured over the third eye, in order to awaken and stimulate all of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components regulated by this chakra.
The treatment itself is meant to induce a state of relaxation for the body and mind and is done with the patient lying down on their back in order to allow the nervous system to repose from any stimulation. The environment for a Shirodhara treatment will generally be conducive to this state of relaxation and the awakening of the third eye through pouring oil over the forehead in this area of the body can help patients access their intuition and relax the mind, allowing the spirit to open itself to a deeper level of healing.
Shirodhara treatment for scalp health and hair loss
Shirodhara treatment has significant benefits for the health of scalp and hair, as the oil or milk are applied directly on that area of the body. The different kinds of oils used all have their own properties, but all of them will offer the scalp moisture and nourishment that is directly applied on their surface and are allowed to integrate directly into the tissues of the body.
All ingredients used in Shirodhara head massage are safe, edible and non-toxic. These ingredients are healthy to use directly on the scalp and will strengthen the scalp tissues and hair follicles. This will also treat the hair strands. This practice is excellent for anyone suffering from dandruff, dry scalp, alopecia, dry or brittle hair or specifically from hair loss. It can be used both as a preventative treatment for those with a family history of these conditions wanting to prevent them, or to treat existing conditions within the body. While Ayurveda cannot reverse hair loss and promote hair growth in bald spots, it can support those suffering from hair loss by nourishing the scalp and strengthening the hair follicles so that the hair is stronger and less prone to falling out.
Our clinics are well equipped to perform full scale shirodhara treatment. Get in touch with Ayurwoman to know more about how we customise shirodhara to suit your dosha type. To contact us, kindly navigate to our contacts page.