Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead – oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water or plain water, in a special way. The most common method used is with medicated oils. The treatments start with oil application on head and body. This external medication is a part of Panchakarma treatment administered generally on the head, neck and shoulders.
Procedure for Shirodhara Massage: A structure similar to a drip stand is used to suspend the vessel that holds the dhara fluid. A vessel with a hole at the bottom is used. For a gentle and continuous flow, a small device made of the shell of a coconut to which a cotton wick has been tied, is fixed inside. The wick, which hangs down through the hole at the bottom, guides the flow.
To begin Shirodhara massage, some oil suited to the patient’s dosha condition is applied on the crown. This is a prerequisite in almost all oil treatments. A head band (vartti) is tied just above the ear level to prevent oil from flowing into the eyes. The patient is then made to lie on his back on the droni with the head rested properly. The position of the head should be such that the stream from the vessel falls at the center of the forehead. The therapist then fills the vessel. When the oil that trickles down the wick starts to fall on the patient’s forehead, the therapist moves the vessel to and fro gently to ensure that oil covers the entire region between the temples while he gently massages the area with his other hand.
Duration: The duration of a dhara is usually between 25 and 75 minutes. However, if the disease is very severe it may take longer.