The Shirodhara treatment is fast becoming the most talked-about and most-requested Ayurvedic treatment offered by leading-edge health spas and alternative health practitioners. Find out more about this incredible warm oil treatment, its benefits and the equipment you need to offer this service to your clients.

The Royal Treatment

The word "shiro" means head and the word "dhara" means stream. This beautiful, deeply relaxing treatment involves pouring a stream of warm oil over the forehead. Shirodhara is a powerful treatment for relieving mental stress and nervous tension. Shirodhara works primarily on the mental sheath or "manomaya kosha" as it is referred to in Ayurveda. It is here that the mind holds on to past impressions that create imbalanced desires and habitual patterns of behavior. These impressions are held captive in the limbic system of the emotional cortex of the brain. Sources: The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage, Dr. John Douillard.

Benefits of Shirodhara

According to Ayurveda, Shirodhara deeply relaxes the nervous system, lowers metabolism, integrates brain function and creates brain wave coherence and an alpha state. When the brain is under stress, cerebral circulation is compromised. As oil is poured on the forehead, the nervous system is deeply stilled. The brain waves slow down and become coherent. Once the brain is quieted, more life energy and oxygen and other nutrients flow more freely to the brain. The result: better brain function, mood stability and improved stress handling ability. With each successive Shirodhara treatment, the mind systematically achieves an even deeper state of silence and more healing takes place. Regular treatments are said to increase blood circulation to the brain, improve memory, nourish the hair and scalp, encourage sound sleep and calm body and mind.

Oils to Use

Herbalized sesame oil is the traditional oil used for Shirodhara. Other oils or liquids, such as coconut oil, olive oil, milk or even buttermilk, are sometimes used as well. For example, coconut oil has a more cooling effect than sesame oil. So someone with a lot of Pitta or excess heat in their system might benefit more from a Shirodhara that used coconut oil. Milk Shirodharas are also very cooling and are especially beneficial in the summer time. If you do not have adequate training to determine which oil or liquid is most appropriate for a particular client, then we recommend using a cold-pressed, organic sesame oil or organic shirodhara oil.


Practice Tips

Recommended Resources

The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage, Dr. John Douillard

Excellent reference tool for learning Ayurvedic body treatments including massage, Shirodhara, and swedhana. Also shows the basic patterns a practitioner should use when pouring the oil on the forehead for Shirodhara. Simple, easy-to-follow instructions with illustrations make this an invaluable reference for the beginning Ayurvedic practitioner. 310 pages.

Our Price: $25.00

Why Ayurvedic Spa Treatments?
Watch this DVD.

This comprehensive 91-minute DVD/video shows you how to evaluate each client according to the ancient Ayurvedic principles of the doshas: Vata, Pitta, Kapha. It then shows you how to combine and apply the ingredients for 21 traditional Ayurvedic treatments including: 7 oil treatments, 2 facials, 4 eye treatments, 1 saffron milk treatment, 5 Ubtan (paste) treatmens, 1 ear treatment and 1 dry powder treament.

Our Price: $49.00



Testimony by John Douilard

“The Steamy Wonder Spa™ exceeds therapeutic effectiveness promised by the ancient science of Ayurveda with technological advancements that have taken ancient principles of "steam" to a new level of comfort and benefit. It is the only steam system I will use.”

Swedana is an individually herbalized steam bath, during which the head and the heart are kept cool while the body is heated to remove mental, emotional and physical toxins lodged deeply within the tissues. The cool head and heart provide a sense of calm and openness while the therapeutic steam over the entire body can penetrate and cleanse deeply, without the body becoming overheated and stressed.
John Douillard, D.C., Ph.D., author of The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage and Director of LifeSpa - an Ayurvedic Panchakarma and Retreat Center in Boulder Colorado.


Take a look at our Shirodhara Equipment page.