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The Shirodhara technique [1]

Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma. The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiro (head) and dhara (flow). The liquids used in shirodhara depend on what is being treated, but can include oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water.

Shirodhara has been used to treat a variety of conditions including eye diseases, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, greying of hair, neurological disorders, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, Ménière's disease and certain types of skin diseases like psoriasis. It is also used non-medicinally at spas for its relaxing properties. Studies report that Ayurvedic Shirodhara is a safe option to improve sleep quality among people who have sleep problems.[2] Shirodhara is also effective in treating mental conditions such as anxiety, and mental stress. The calming effect produced by Shirodhara is similar to that obtained with meditation.[3]

There are specialized forms of shirodhara called ksheeradhara,[4] thakradhara,[5] taildhara[5] and jaladhara.[5]

  • Ksheeradhara – Consistent flow of lukewarm medicated milk over the forehead for a particular duration of time. Ksheera Dhara improves blood circulation of the body as well as lubricating the joints, relieving pain, spasms and stiffness of the muscles and joints.[6]
  • Thakradhara – Constant stream of medicated buttermilk is poured on the forehead in a specific manner. Thakradhara is said to reduce stress and hypertension.[7] Its also has been associated with reduced symptom of Psoriasis.[8]
  • Tailadhara – Continuous pouring of medicated oil over the head for a certain period of time.[9] Ayurvedic oils like Ksheera Bala Oil, Lakshadi Oil, Chandanadi Oil,etc are used according to the condition being treated.[10] Taila dhara is said to be useful for rheumatic complaints, arthritis, neurological disorders, depression and paralysis.[11]
  • Jaladhara – Continuous flow of aqueous formulation over the forehead with coconut water as the main ingredient in the process. It is used to treat conditions related to pitta dosha imbalance.[12]

Shirodhara may begin with a full body massage known as Abhyangam. Shirodhara also involves a head massage. Shirodhara is thought to work by relaxing the hypothalamus in the brain. It can also normalize the functions of hormones that regulate sleep and emotions.[13]


  1. ^ Shirodhara Treatment,
  2. ^ Tokinobu A, Yorifuji T (May 2017). "Effects of Ayurvedic Oil-Dripping Treatment with Sesame Oil vs. with Warm Water on Sleep: A Randomized Single-Blinded Crossover Pilot Study". J Altern Complement Med. 22 (1): 52–58. doi:10.1089/acm.2015.0018. PMC 4739344. PMID 26669255.
  3. ^ Dhuri KD, Bodhe PV, Vaidya AB (May 2017). "Shirodhara: A psycho-physiological profile in healthy volunteers". J Ayurveda Integr Med. 4 (1): 40–44. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.109550. PMC 3667433. PMID 23741161.
  4. ^ Dhara, Dr. Sudra's Ayurveda
  5. ^ a b c What is Shirodhara?,
  6. ^ "ksheeradhara".
  7. ^ "thakradhara treatment".
  9. ^ "Taila Dhara".
  10. ^ "shirodhara oil treatment".
  11. ^ "Taila-Dhara Dr.K Hariharan".
  12. ^ "Shirodhara Massage and Side Effects".
  13. ^ "A Calming Therapy For a Distressed Mind!".