Shirodhara is a, unique body therapy from the ancient natural medical system Ayurveda. Shirodhara has a profound impact on the nervous system. That means, the treatment directly and immediately calms, relaxes and has a cleansing effect on the mind and nerves.  It can help relieve symptoms of anxiety, stress, fatigue and hypertension. It also relieves worry, fear and headache as well as depression. It regulates mood and gives feelings of pleasure and relaxation.

The term shirodhara is a union of two words: ‘shir‘ meaning head and ‘dhara‘ meaning pouring in a stream or sprinkling. Thus, shirodhara means the pouring of a liquid medicine in a stream over the head of a client for a stipulated amount of time. Shirodhara is a very potent therapy on the subtle, energetic levels.

This pressure and vibration created over the forehead is amplified by the hollow sinus present in the frontal lobe, which may activate the functions of the brain and bring the amount of serotonin and catecholamine to the normal stage. This makes Shirodhara an effective go to treatment for insomnia and jet lag. 

Shirodhara increases immunity by relieving stress and an over active mind by balancing the Ayurveda mind-body types or doshas so that your constitution remains strong. It renews energy and produces a youthful countenance. Shirodhara also gives the hair and scalp a hot oil treatment which is cleansing and nourishing and adds strength to the hair follicles. Generally the therapist will massage the warm oil into the scalp once the Shirodhara oil has run its course.

Shirodhara can also assist with the following conditions:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Insomnia and Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD), Hypertension, and a preventative for healthy individuals.

Who Should NOT Have Shirodhara

Shirodhara is suitable for any dosha or constitution however there are some contraindications.


  • Obesity
  • Brain Tumor
  • Recent Neck injury
  • Abrasions or cuts or rash on the head
  • Sunburn
  • Fever/chills
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Fainting or spontaneous sweating
  • Indigestion
  • Ascitis
  • Edema
  • Generalized toxic conditions like septicemia
  • Any acute illness
  • Dehydration or person suffering from thirst
  • Non cooperative individuals like children and those with Alzheimer’s. In these people shiro-pichu or the placing of cotton dipped in a suitable oil and placed on the bregma is more suitable or practical.

Duration Of Shirodhara

Shirodhara can be done for a period of 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the nature and severity of the dosha imbalance or depending on the constitution (Prakruti) of the patient. Shirodhara is usually done for a period of 7 to 14 days or as recommended by the practitioner. The relief or complaints is taken as a parameter for the number of days of treatment to be done in one stretch.

How To Prepare For A Shirodhara Appointment

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. Avoid large crowds (concerts, restaurants/bars, large gatherings) and make the remainder of your day peaceful. This is your time for mental rest.

Eat lightly before your appointment. Shirodhara has an effect on the digestive system and a full stomach is not advised. 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 few hours following the treatment. It’s best to leave the oil in your hair overnight.

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. An old scarf or a  plastic shower cap also works well.