Shiro Dhara | Ayurvedic Oil Pouring Massage

Published: Aug 7, 2021 | Revised: Feb 16, 2023
Written by: Marce Ferreira

Shiro Dhara | Ayurvedic Oil Pouring Massage

© Image from Amila Tennakoon

The word Shirodhara consists of two parts: Shiro meaning head, and Dhara meaning flow. Shirodhara is a classical and well-known Ayurvedic procedure where medicated oil is slowly and steadily dripping on the center of the forehead of the receiver who lies on a massage table or bed.

Apart from medicated herbal oils, other liquids like coconut water, buttermilk (Takra Dhara), and milk may be used, depending on the needs of the patient. In Shirodhara one can apply a variety of fluids to treat Dosha imbalances, being able to address Vata, Pitta, and Kapha disorders.

In a complete Shirodhara treatment, the patient will also receive a full-body Abhyanga Massage. A Shirodhara session, depending on a full-body massage being included, usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes. The Abhyanga Massage is typically given before the treatment, although it’s sometimes also given afterwards. In other cases, only a head massage i.e. Shiro Abhyanga is applied before and/or after giving Shirodhara.

Shirodhara induces a relaxed state of awareness, feelings of well-being, and mental clarity. Other benefits attributed to the treatment are relief of headaches, relief of stress and anxiety, improvement of skin conditions, alleviation or healing of eye diseases, sinusitis, neurological disorders, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus, and vertigo, among other benefits.

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