Treatment time: 80min
The word shirodhara originates from two Sanskrit words, shiro (head) and dhara (flow). It is a form of treatment in which warm, herbalized Ayurvedic oil is poured onto your forehead. Initially, the oil is streamed in dosha-specific patterns from the right to left temple. After several minutes, the stream is set to the middle of the forehead where it flows continuously for the duration of the treatment. The oil pour lasts approximately 30 minutes and is preceded by a full-body srota or abhyangha massage, both of which include cranial activation and scalp manipulation.
The benefits of shirodhara kick off as an ideal treatment for reducing high levels of mental stress. It induces calmness, promotes tranquility, and facilitates relaxation. The steady pour of warm oil encourages what cardiologist and founder of Harvard’s Mind/Body Medical Institute, Dr. Herbert Benson, termed the relaxation response. As your body enters deep relaxation, stress hormones decline while hyper-alert brain patterns (beta waves) transition into relaxed-alert ones (alpha waves). Dr. Benson described the relaxation response as the body’s way of turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, that part of the nervous system which conserves energy, slows heart rate, and relaxes muscles. One (small) study showed that the shirodhara treatment significantly impacts those measurable markers of relaxation by decreasing respiration rate, reducing diastolic blood pressure, and slowing heart rate.
Given that nearly every modern disease has some link to stress, minimizing its deleterious impact is a valuable tool for generating lifelong heath. The relaxation response directly counteracts stress by reversing its physical equivalents. A single one-hour session of shirodhara treatment may invoke such a powerful relaxation response that the effects of stress can be mitigated for hours, or even days.
- Counteracts the Effects of Stress
- Reduces Anxiety
- Awakens Intuition
- Improves Sleep Quality