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The Most Popular Therapy in Ayurveda

Experience the most ancient Ayurvedic ritual to rest and calm the mind at Vedic Arogya Ashram. Shirodhara is a therapy specifically for the ‘third eye’ or ‘chakra point’ just above and between the eyebrows, said to be the seat of human consciousness. Derived from Sanskrit words ‘shiro’ meaning head and ‘dhara‘ meaning flow. Shirodhara therapy is a steady flow of warm herbal oils, milk, buttermilk, or other decoctions that are poured in a slow steady stream on your forehead. The oils are allowed to flow over the scalp and through the hair, creating a blissful sensation. This is one of the most divine therapies, awakening your body’s intuitive knowledge.  This treatment is profoundly relaxing, nourishing and stimulates a self-healing process deep from the cellular level.

Scientists are recognizing the relationship between what Eastern cultures have referred to as the ‘third eye’, and the hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands – situated deep inside the brain – the exact area Ayurveda has always identified as the seat of the third eye, and which is the focal point during shirodhara therapy. Many hormonal imbalances are focused on the head. Therefore shirodhara therapy is beneficial for restoring hormonal balance in the body.  This process stimulates the hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands (third eye) and creates proper communication between these areas in order for them secrete sufficient amounts of hormones. 

Benefits of Shirodhara Therapy (Treatment)

 These benefits are further enhanced after a massage or Abhyanga, when the body is already relaxed and in a receptive state.

  • Stimulates the 3rd eye and crown chakras, and awakens intuition and inner wisdom
  • Brings balance and harmony to body, mind and spirit
  • Enhances mental clarity and concentration and comprehension
  • Generates a profound state of relaxation in body and mind, relieving stress
  • Turns on the body’s healing mechanisms
  • Helps balance hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and melatonin
  • Works on the cerebral system, helps to relax the nervous system, and balance the ‘Praan Vaayu’ (life force energy) around the head
  • Reduces and relieves migraine headaches
  • Improves sleep patterns and relieves stress induced insomnia
  • Improves the sensitivity of five senses
  • Balances Vata Dosha thereby relieving anxiety, restlessness, irritability, nervousness, fear & excessive thinking
  • Nourishes hair and scalp, and strengthens hair follicles to prevent hair loss and premature graying
  • Softens lines and wrinkles on the face by clearing the mind, dissolving stress and relaxing face muscles
  • Promotes fertility by stimulating the release of hormones in the hypothalamus and pituitary glands behind the forehead.

Note – Oil is generously applied during Abhyanga (massage) session. Shirodhara session makes hair oily. Try to rest staying indoor. You may shower after 2 hours after shirodhra to remove oil from hair as it is recommended to keep oil on the body for minimum 2 hours (ideally 24 hours) as it continues to heal cells after the therapy.

But is there scientific truth behind Shirodhara therapy?

Clinical studies are proving that the positive outcomes are indeed linked to the stimulation of the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands, which are responsible for many important functions in the body.  These three major glands of the endocrine system are situated in the part of the brain where Eastern traditions have long believed the third eye resides.

The hypothalamus is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems.  It helps to stimulate or inhibit heart rate and blood pressure, body temperature, fluid and electrolyte balance, appetite and body weight, production of substances that influence the pituitary gland to release hormones and sleep cycles, among others.  The pituitary gland secretes hormones that help control body processes such as growth, blood pressure, aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, breast milk production, sex-organ function, thyroid gland function, the conversion of food into energy (metabolism), water balance, temperature regulation and pain relief.  And the pineal gland secretes the hormone melatonin, which has two primary functions – to help control biological rhythm and to regulate certain reproductive hormones, aiding in the proper development and functioning of the ovaries and testes.

All of the above imbalances are among the ones Ayurveda treats (shirodhara), meditation and yoga.  It is no wonder, then, that these ancient therapies are on the rise, as alternative remedies for many hormonal imbalances.