Shirodhara is an allied Panchakarma procedure, which has got worldwide popularity because of its simple administration and efficacy in variety of disorders. Pouring of liquid on head in Shirodhara is designed to relieve the psychological stress and mental fatigue. Acharya Vagbhata has considered it under the broad heading of Murdha Taila. He recommended it for the prevention of Khalitya(Hair fall), Palitya(premature graying of hairs), etc. disorders.

Shirodhara is a unique form of ancient therapy of pouring oil on the forehead from a specific height and for a specific period; continuously and in a rhythm with allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair for 45 minutes. Usually procedure is done for 7 days but duration Cane different for different medical conditions. It is one of the important and globally recognized as a stress relieving procedure of Ayurvedic system of medicine. It is not only used in disease of skin or hair but also used in psychic and psychosomatic conditions. Depending upon the drug components used for Shirodhara, it is known by different names viz. Jaladhara, Kwathadhara, Takradhara, Tailadhara and Ksheeradhara

Insomnia, Stress, Hair fall, Dandruff, Psychological illness, Hormonal imbalance, Migraine, tension headache, Psychosomatic disorders

The Procedure of Shirodhara can be divided into three stages:

1. Purvakarma 2.Pradhanakarma 3. Paschat Karma

1) Purvakarma:

It is related with the preparation of Shirodhara. First it should be examined that whether the patient is fit for Shirodhara or not. Then the patient is advised to pass his/ her natural urges. Proper medicated oil is selected according to disease, prakruti etc. Then Proper position is given to patient.

2) Pradhan Karma:

The medicament is allowed to pass through dhara patra( special vessel for shirodhara) which forms a uniform stream of oil. This stream of heated oil should fall continuously on forehead of patient. It should not be too fast or too slow. After liquid starts flowing through vessel it should be moved like pendulum from one side to another so that stream must move from one lateral side to another on forehead. The poured liquid is collected in another vessel then re-heated and is used to refill the vessel before it become empty. Shirodhara is usually done for 45 to 60 minutes for 7 days daily on same time.
This procedure can be done in morning on empty stomach or 2- 3 hours after taking food.

3) Paschat Karma:

After Shirodhara, oil on the head is wipeout and advised rest for a short duration. Followed by massage of the body including head is given. Then a bath with lukewarm water is suggested.
The patient should avoid physical exertions, mental excitement such as anger, grief, sexual desire and exposure to cold, sun, dew, wind, smoke or dust. Riding, excessive walking, travelling, speaking too long or loudly and such other acts that give strain to the body must be avoided. Sleeping during daytime and standing continuously for long period must also be avoided. It is also advisable to use a pillow which is neither very high nor very low, during sleep at night.

Mind, body and spirit are intimately connected and Shirodhara relaxes the entire physiology by calming the stressful mind.
In Shirodhara liquid is poured on a forehead, which induces the somato-autonomic reflex through thermo sensors or pressure sensors of the skin or hair follicles via the trigeminal cranial nerve and provides physiological effect of therapy.

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- Dr.Yogesh Chavan, MD (Ayu)Kerala

Author's Bio: 

Dr.Yogesh Chavan is renowned Ayurvedic doctor in nashik (India) . He is also a passionate blogger with the motto to spread ayurveda science to community. He is spreading ayurveda & health knowledge through articles in many newspapers & his blog – . He is expert in Ayurveda medicine & panchakarma treatment. His work & sound knowledge in this field has been acknowledged by many institutes