The nervous system of our body is one of the most important parts of our body that needs to function properly for everything else to work fine. Somehow it ends up being the most neglected one. We take care of ourselves the best we can, yet we never do anything exclusively for the nervous system – the network of nerve cells that transmit our impulses to different parts of our body.
Shirodhara is one such treatment of the ancient Indian medicine system, Ayurveda, that works solely to strengthen our nervous system, curing a number of other diseases through it.
Shirodhara, derived from the Sanskrit language words shiro (head) and dhara (flow), is an Ayurvedic therapy in which warm oil is poured over the third eye in the centre of the forehead to soothe the nervous system. This treatment is known to have an immediate calming effect on our mind and nerves, thus cleansing them in the process.
How it works
The exact process of Shirodhara involves the person lying on their back and a continuous stream of warm herbal oil pouring over their head. The oil creates a steady vibration in the centre of the forehead, absorbing in the forehead as well as scalp – and thus, penetrating into the nervous system. The act of lying down in silence for a considerably long time creates the ambience similar to meditation, allowing our mind and body to rest.
Shirodhara’s main focus is to balance the Vatta and Pitta dosha. Vatta is responsible for the feelings of insecurity, anxiety and fear while Pitta leads to feelings of anger, frustration and prejudice.
The herbal oils used in this therapy soothe and nourish both doshas and help pacify them – giving a sense of mental peace. It stabilises the doshas which prove crucial in alleviating stress. The vibration of the oil falling on the forehead also plays an important role in it. This also helps the forebrain function more actively and also help in inducing sleep.
The vibration also has an effect on our tactile and thermoreceptors. Prolonged pressure causes it to go into a state of rest, thus inducing sleep. Dhara therapy was originally a part of the cleansing process of Panchakarma but also works as a stand-alone.
It is important to perform the therapy correctly to reap the most benefits. Choose the right kinds of oils that work best for you and avoid any oil that you might be allergic to. The idea is to create a peaceful ambience and even some oil with an irksome fragrance can prove to be distracting. Talk with your therapist or the Ayurveda practitioner, you consult at length about what works best for your situation.