Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda Therapy that involves Gently Pouring Medicated Oils or Liquids Over the Forehead or to the Vertex of Head


Shirodhara is a form of Ayurveda medicine that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead (the ‘third eye’). It was developed by vaidyas (practitionars of Ayurveda) in Kerala, India for use in sukhachikitsa (restorative therapy) and can be one of the steps involved in Panchakarma  The name comes from the Sanskrit words shiras ‘head’ and dhara ‘flow’. The liquids used in shirodhara depend on what is being treated, but can include oil, milk, buttermilk, coconut water, or even plain water.

Shirodhara has been used to treat a variety of conditions including eye diseases, sinusitis allergic rhinitis greying of hair, neurological disorders, memory loss, insomnia, hearing impairment, tinnitus, vertigo, Ménière’s disease and certain types of skin diseases like psoriasis. It is also used non-medicinally at spas for its relaxing properties.

There are specialized forms of shirodhara called thyladhara, ksheeradhara, thakradhara and jaladhara.

Clinical Trials

Researchers have conducted two human clinical trials on the psychoneuroimmunologic effects of shirodhara. In the first study a group of healthy females were randomly assigned to receive a shirodhara treatment (with plain sesame oil)or remain in a supine position (control group), while being monitored for numerous physiologic, biochemical, immunologic and psychometric parameters. The second study had a similar design, with the addition of a third group that received shirodhara with a medicated sesame oil containing essential oil of lavender. Both shirodhara treatments resulted in decreased anxiety and promoted ASC (altered state of consciousness). After the plain sesame oil treatment there was a significant decrease in plasma noradrenaline and urinary serotonin excretion vs. the control group. A correlation with natural killer cell (NK cell) activity and anxiolytic effect within the shirodhara group was also observe

In Sanskrit language Shirodhara is composed of two words shiro + dhara, shiro means head and dhara means flow. In ayurveda the warm oil flow on head is known as Shirodhara.

It’s a very simple and relaxing therapy, warm oil is poured on the forehead. It’s a divine and relaxing method – a great rejuvenating therapy that gives a healthy glow, radiates from skin. This therapy is meant for ‘Shodhana’- the eradication of the basic cause of the disease. ‘Shodhana’ or purification therapy is not only meant for elimination of disease-causing toxins but also to replenish the tissues with nourishment. Rejuvenate literally means ‘to make young again’.

In Ayurveda, rejuvenating therapy is the golden way to attain longevity, as it is aimed at the preservation of health. Ayurveda says that rasayana or rejuvenating therapy optimises the circulation of nutrients to both body and mind. Shirodhara eradicates the root cause of the disease and a rejuvenating therapy as well.


  • Shirodhara is meant for eliminating diseases of head and Vata disorders affecting neck, eyes, ears, nose and nervous system;
  • It helps to overcome stress and its ill effects on nervous system;
  • It helps to relieve insomnia, stress, tension, anxiety, anger, chronic headaches, rheumatism, hypertension, asthma, hair problems; and gives mental relaxation;
  • Shirodhara is curative as well as rejuvenating process as it eliminates lots of diseases and improves vitality;

    Three steps of shirodhara are:
  • Patient/client is advised to sit on the massage table and the medicated herbal oil is poured through hair;
  • Whole body is massaged with warm oil;
  • Then the client is advised to lay down on the massage table in supine position (face upwards). Oil is released from the bowl onto the forehead. 
    Ideally for a severe illness, the treatment lasts for 14 or 21 days depending on severity the problem. For relaxation purposes it can be used occasionally or weekly. The Ayurvedic physician determines the number of days of treatment for different problems.With weekly sessions, you will find relief from stress and strain from daily life. To achieve the maximum benefits from the therapy, it is advisable to follow Ayurvedic lifestyle. An Ayurvedic physician decides appropriate foods, exercise, yoga and herbal preparation to optimise the benefits.
    Oils: It is recommended to use medicated oil with Sesame oil for shirodhara for long lasting benefits.