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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]

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.[6]


  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.
  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. ^ "A Calming Therapy For a Distressed Mind!".

External links[edit]

  • Shirodhara Article about Shirodhara and Pancha Karma from the California College of Ayurveda