Shirodhara is one of the special types of treatment widely practiced in India for psychic and psychosomatic diseases.

Shirodhara is the process in which medicated oil, milk, buttermilk, or decoction is poured in a continuous stream of drip on the forehead in specific manner.

Indication: Shirodhara is indicated in Stress and psychosomatic disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), AsthmaNeurological disorders such as Epilepsy, Motor Neuron DiseaseHeadache and Psychiatric disorders like PsychosisNeurosisInsomniaConvulsive Disorders and also in Psoriasis, EczemaHypertension and Alcoholism.

Shirodhara is considered to be useful in patients of Vata Vyadhi, facial palsy, neuropathy, loss of memory.

CONTRA-INDICATIONS: kaphaja disorders, shirodhara further increases Kapha, which makes the diseases difficult to cure.


PURVA-KARMA: Purvakarma is related with the preparation of the patient. Following equipment’s should be collected – Droni (dhara table), sarava (dhara patra), other equipment like cloth piece, cotton, pot etc.

The patient should pass stool, and urine. Then patients pulse, temperature and blood pressure should be recorded.

POSITION OF PATIENT: proper posture of the patient for Shirdhara is supine position and dhara patra should be fixed 4 inches above the forehead. The eyes should be covered with cotton to prevent the entry of liquid into eyes.

SELECTION OF HERB FOR SHIRODHARA: drugs used for shirodhara should be selected based on the nature of disease, vitiated dosha as well as the constitution and the biological strength of the patient.

Drugs specifically indicated in certain disease are –

Vataja Roga – bala taila, dashamula decoction and ghee etc.

Pittaja Roga – chandana taila, ushira decoction, coconut water etc.

Kaphaja Roga – Nagara, Mustaka and Madhuyashti decoction

Depending upon the drug components dhara is known by different names like Takradhara, kshiradhara, tailadhara, kwathadhara etc.

PRADHANA KARMA: The room where shirodhara is to be performed should be clean, well ventilated and very quiet.

Shirodhara is done in the morning empty stomach after proper massage. The selected liquid should be dharapatra and poured continuously, neither very fast nor very slow on the forehead of the patient. The flow of the medicament may be adjusted either with the help of stop cork or by putting small piece of cloth having knot at its inner end. When the liquid starts pouring then the vessel is moved in the pendulum manner starting from one lateral side to the other lateral side. The liquid is collected in another vessel and is used to refill the dharapatra before it becomes empty.

DURATION: Dhara process is done for at least half an hour in the morning up to 7, 14, 21 days.  It is believed that by this therapy the effect can be achieved up to the limbs and entire body by 21 days.

Period for changing the liquid: when milk is used, it should be changed every day.  

When dhanyamla is used, it can be used up to 3 days. Oil also should be changed after 3 days. In the first 3 days, half of the oil should be used, for next 3 days the other half of the oil should be used and on the 7th day all the first and second half both are mixed together, then it should be discarded.

TEMPRATURE OF LIQUID: it should be sukhoshna (like warm), nearly equal to body temperature.

PASCHATKARMA: After the dhara process is completed, the head of the patient should be wiped out and dried. This is followed by a short duration of rest and massage of the body including head with oil and then a lukewarm bath. The patient is advised to have a light diet and as per indication he/she can continue his daily routine.

PARIHARA: The patient should avoid physical exertions, mental excitement such as anger, grief etc. sexual desire and exposure to cold, sun, dew, wind, smoke or dust.

Riding on elephant or horses, walking, speaking too long or too loud and such other acting that may give any strain to the system must be avoided. Sleeping during day time and standing continuously for long period must also be avoided. It is also advisable to use pillow which is neither very high nor very low.

PARIHARA KALA: The patient should take pathya and remain as jitendriya up to the period which is taken for completion of therapy.

DHARA DOSHA: If dhara is done from height, very fast or very slow, then it may produce murccha, sula, chardi, raktapitta and jwara.

For the treatment of dhara dosha following measures may be adopted.

  1. Gandusha
  2. Nasya
  3. Light diet at evening, yusha with black pepper
  4. On the third day basti should be given with saindhava    
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