Shirodhara, is a unique, blissful ancient Panchkarma therapy, balances and stabilize the mind. This procedure/therapy induces a relaxed state of awareness that results in a dynamic psycho-somatic balance. It comprises of two terms: ‘Shiro’ meaning Head and ‘Dhara’ meaning Pouring in Stream of medicated oil, milk or any other liquid based upon individual needs. This treatment has immensely positive impact on our nervous system. It immediately acts to calm and relax your mind and has a cleansing effect on the nerves & thoughts. Stress, according to Ayurveda, is a state of imbalance of prana vayu, sadak pitta, and tarpaka kapha. Shirodhara re-establishes the functional integrity between these three doshic subtypes and thus helps alleviate stress & tension.

Warm oil (or other liquid) pours in a continuous stream for 45 minutes over the forehead (between eyebrows, the third eye), an area where nerves are highly concentrated. The pressure of the oil onto the forehead creates a vibration. The oil saturates the forehead and scalp and penetrates into the nervous system. In classical Shirodhara, a copper pot (kumbha) with a standard size hole at the bottom is used to pour oil. This is filled up with oil or any other therapeutic liquid at ambient temperature. The dripping should happen in a constant rhythm. The gentle pressure and soothing warmth of the oil allow the body, mind and nervous system to experience a deep state of rest, mimicking to meditation.The gentle pressure of the oil falling onto the forehead may also play a role in inducing rest.


Shirodhara may assist with the following conditions:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Insomnia or disturbed sleep
  • Jet Lag
  • Hypertension
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic Headaches and Migraines
  • Memory loss
  • Hair loss
  • Tinnitus and Hearing loss
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Healthy individual can also take Dhara to experience a deep sense of relaxation & Rejuvenation.

How Dhara affects us:


The medicated liquids and oils used in the process help relax the body and mind by removing the harmful toxins accumulated . The removal of toxins helps purify the soul and the body. It helps enhance relaxation and makes one feel more positive about life.


The oil which is poured onto the head flows to all the other areas of the body. This helps increase energy in the body, and makes people feel fitter and more active. This therapy can be used for the treatment of weak and feeble patients, trying to recover after long-illness.


This method assists nutrients from oils to freely flow to the brain, which assists in healing the body from deep within.


Medicated liquids calm the mind and stabilize the nervous system. This helps sufferers to be cured of insomnia.


The flow of oil /medicated milk on the scalp, temples and hair can help cure hair loss problems. Regular use of oils / milk can make hair follicles stronger, smooth and encourage the growth of new hair.

In the process of Shirodhara, particular pressure and vibration is created over the forehead. The vibration is amplified by the hollow sinus present in the frontal bone. The vibration is then transmitted inwards through the fluid medium of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). This vibration along with little warmth may activate the functions of brain which then brings the amount of serotonin and catecholamine to the normal stage of sleep induction. Again, it is proved in modern human physiology that pressure has an effect on impulse conduction through tactile (touch)and thermo (heat)receptors. In Dhara therapy, prolonged and continuous pressure due to pouring of the medicated liquid may cause tranquility of mind and induces natural sleep.

3 Types Of Shirodhara:

  • 1.Sneha dharauses herbal oil (tail) or ghee.
  • 2.Ksheer dharauses milk infused with herbs.
  • 3.Takra dharauses buttermilk infused with suitable herbs.

Sneh Dhara

An Ayurvedic practitioner can make use of different herbal oils and ghee based on his or her wisdom and experience. Different oils can be mixed and used depending on the practical experience and judgment of the practitioner.


This is another type of shirodhara in which medicated milk or milk infused with herbs is rhythmically poured on the forehead from a specific height and for a specific time period allowing the milk to run through the scalp and into the hair.

Specific indications of Ksheer dhara

  • 1.Hair loss
  • 2.Pitta imbalance
  • 3.For rejuvenation in summer and hot climates
  • 4.Insanity of Pitta origin (as a supplemental therapy)
  • 5.Giddiness
  • 6.Sleeplessness due to aggravated Pitta
  • 7.Fever of Pitta origin


Takra-dhara is a type of shirodhara in which herb infused takra or butter milk is poured from a specific height and for a specific time period continuously and rhythmically, allowing the takra to run through the scalp and into the hair.

Specific indications of Takra dhara

  • 1.Graying of the hair
  • 2.Headache
  • 3.Indigestion
  • 4.Burning of the hands and feet
  • 5.Disorders of the eye, ear and nose, related to Pitta and Kapha aggravation
  • 6.Skin diseases of psychosomatic origin, as in psoriasis

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Shirodhara provides relief from nervous disorders and may also help to reduce blood pressure, induce sleep and reduce hair loss. However, this is an Ayurveda treatment that produces immediate results. But a person can get affected by anxiety or stress or sleep disorders after a certain time after completing the treatment. The results are, hence, not permanent and a person may have to opt for the treatment again. To sustain results the approach should be multi-focal, taking care of diet , nutrition , lifestyle , relationships and expectations, a balance is required.

Are there any side effects?

Shirodhara is a very beneficial treatment and there are no serious side-effects associated with the treatment. However, some people may experience a feeling of heaviness in the head. Some people can get a bit dizzy while the chances of giddiness may increase for people if they had kept their eyes open during the treatment.


  • When scheduling an appointment for shirodhara, keep in mind that you may need additional rest following the treatment.
  • Shirodhara cleanses the mind and senses. Make use of this time and avoid unnecessary stimulation after your treatment.
  • Eat lightly before your appointment. Shirodhara has an effect on the digestive system and a full stomach is not advised.

Prefer Light Food Options before the Therapy like:
  • Veg Khichri
  • Veg porridge
  • Warm vegetable or lentil soup


  • Your hair will be saturated with oil. Dress appropriately and comfortably. Wear an old shirt, something you don’t mind getting oil on.
  • It is advised to leave the oil in your hair for at least a one hour following the treatment.
  • Prepare to cover your head following the treatment. If the weather is cool, windy or cold, bring an old warm hat, again something you don’t mind getting oil on. A plastic shower cap also works well.
  • Avoid anger , large crowds (concerts, restaurants/bars, large gatherings) and make the remainder of your day peaceful. This is your time for mental rest.

Cautions used to Get A Great Shirodhara

1.Maintain Silence

No music should be playing during shirodhara, cell phones should be turned off and there should be no interruptions and no conversations taking place. Any noise will disrupt the experience of disengaging from outside stimuli and experiencing mental rest.

2.Be Mindful of The Room’s Temperature

In cooler climates and during the cooler seasons of the year the room should be ‘toasty’ warm throughout the treatment. The head will be wet with oil during the treatment so it is very important that the client does not get cold during the process. If so, the experience could become unpleasant. In the warmer months of the year make sure the temperature of the room is comfortable and avoid deep cold air conditioned rooms for shirodhara when possible.

Post-Treatment Guidelines

People, who have undergone this treatment, will have to remove the oil from their hair. It is better to add shampoo to hair first and then use water to wash the hair. This is because the shampoo will stick to the hair and ensure that is properly cleaned. Caffeine should be avoided for a few days after the treatment as caffeine has a negative effect on the nervous system. A person should use warm water for bathing and drinking purposes. A person should also go for a light diet and avoid eating oily food.