Pouring of a liquid on the forehead or scalp in rhythmic manner for stipulated time period is known as the Shirodhara. This is an allied Panchakarma procedure, which has got worldwide popularity because of its simple administration and efficacy in variety of disorders. Pouring of liquid on head in Shirodhara is designed to relieve the psychological stress and mental fatigue. Dhara is not only used in psychic disease but also used in psychosomatic diseases like Insomnia IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), psoriasis etc.
Acharya Vagbhata has considered it under the broad heading of Moordha Taila. This is a unique form of ancient therapy of pouring oil on the forehead from a specific height and for a specific period; continuously and rythematically with allowing the oil to run through the scalp and into the hair. Name of Dhara changes according to liquid which is used to do procedure i.e. if tail is used then it is called as TailDhara, if milk/ kshir is used it is called as kshir Dhara. Similarly TakraDhara if Takra/ butter milk is used.
Pituitary gland is the master gland which controls all the endocrine functions in the body is located in the head. ShiroDhara controls the pituitary functions and in turn all the other endocrine functions. This helps in the smooth running of the body mechanics. ShiroDhara also soothes the stressed and agitated mind and helps us to keep calm and at ease. This procedure helps in discharge of happy chemicals which helps us to come out of mood swings and live at peace.
Proper posture of the patient for Shirodhara is supine position and Dhara Patra should be brought 4 inches above his head.
The eyes and ears should be covered with cotton so that liquid may not enter in eyes. His head rests in slightly elevated position, preferably on wooden piece (Droni).
Then warm oil is poured through Dhara Patra on scalp from 4 angula height (around 3- 4 inches). Dhara is allowed to run continuously through scalp & Dhara Patra is moved like pendulum starting from one lateral side of forehead to another lateral side in rhythmic manner.
Oil used for Dhara should be Warm around 35 to 45celcius depending on season & prakriti of person. This procedure is performed for 45 to 60 minutes daily for minimum 7 days, it can be performed daily at same time for 14, 21 or 28 days regularly.
Benefits- 1. It improves speech, stabilizes mind, increases the physical strength, 2. It decreases anorexia, increases sweetness of voice, softness of skin. 3. It is also helpful in Timira and Netra Roga, Shukra etc. 4. Dhatus are nourished, increases virility . 5. Excessive body temperature is reduced and patient can get good sleep. 6. According to Acharya Charaka, one who has his head well oleated daily does not get headache, baldness and grey hair. The strength of his cranial bones is markedly increased and his hair becomes firmly rooted and very black. The sense organs are toned up and the skin of the face becomes beautiful and the person gets good sleep and feels happy (Ch. Su. 5/82-84).
7. Mind, body and spirit are intimately connected in Shirodhara by calming the stressful mind & this procedure relaxes the entire physiology.
8. In Shirodhara liquid is poured on a forehead, which induces the somato-autonomic reflex through thermosensors or pressure sensors of the skin or hair follicles via the trigeminal cranial nerve and provides physiological effect of therapy .