In Ayurveda, oil plays an important role not only in nutrition: the nutrient-rich fluid is also used in natural cosmetics, for relaxation and for therapeutic treatment. Shirodhara, the forehead casting, is one of the most famous oil treatments, known in Ayurveda as Snehana. What this is used for and how we benefit from the application? We explain it to you.
The Shirodharais a profoundly relaxing application of the traditional, as well as authentic teachings of Ayurveda. After a preparatory massage, warm oil flows through the forehead via a special casting technique, thus achieving a deep state of relaxation.
The name comes from Sanskrit, “Shiro” means translated head and “Dhara” river.
With traditional Ayurveda forehead casting you lie with your back on the treatment table. The oil flows on a wick of cotton yarn from the hole in the middle of the Dhara vessel on the forehead. Between the eyebrows and the hairline is the so-called third eye. This point is considered the seat of our intuition, the location of the sixth chakra, the forehead chakra, as well as the so-called Marma, an energy center. In Ayurveda, it is believed that this point is related to our intuition, our soul and our consciousness. By the warm oil meets this, it should be stimulated.
The Ayurvedic forehead casting triggers a stream of healing substances, which should be very helpful especially in neurovegetative disorders and states of exhaustion. The even oil casting leads to a very deep relaxation. Both halves of the brain are synchronized.
To understand the effect, one must know that our brain is also a system in the flow.
It constantly creates new connections between the nerve cells and unused or nonsensical must be separated. Stored information must be sorted and unnecessary or even harmful should be deleted. This can be compared to cleaning up the hard disk of a computer. During “normal operation” this is only possible to a very limited extent. Most of the time, our brain does not have time, not even while asleep. During Shirodhara and also in the hours after, our head is cleaned up intensively! This explains also the intensive effect on brain and nervous system. A few hours after a Shirodhara we are extremely receptive. Information is stored very well.
The oil casting is therefore used mainly for complaints in the nervous system. Typical cases include headaches, stress, mental health problems, and sleep difficulties. But also for pure relaxation, Shirodhara enjoys great popularity. Since the halves of the brain are synchronized during treatment, a sense of clarity should spread after use. People who have already experienced the treatment often report a feeling like in a trance. Thanks to its calming and balancing effect, Shirodhara is especially recommended for stressed people as well as for a vata imbalance.
The Shirodhara is also used in the treatment of chronic headaches, pain syndromes, sleep disorders, stress and burnout syndromes, depression and many other psychosomatic diseases. The Shirodhara is performed while lying down. For preparation, the forehead casting, which lasts about 20 to 30 minutes, combined with a previously stimulating short massage. The application strengthens the senses and the mind, in which a pleasant well-being, an inner peace and a deep relaxation adjust.
The treatment is, as already mentioned, on the back on a treatment table. The ears are protected with cotton wool, the eyes with pads soaked in rose water. Once all the preparations have been made, the oil begins to flow on a wick of cotton yarn from the so-called Dhara pot. A distance of eight to ten centimeters is maintained. During the flow, the performing therapist moves the vessel back and forth in a circular motion. After about twenty to thirty minutes, the river is finished. However, before the application is completed, the participant goes through the dormant phase. So the body has opportunity to process the treatment without excitement. Especially cold draft must be avoided at this stage. After resting, the oil is finally washed out with a mild ayurvedic shampoo.
For oil casting, an individually produced oil is usually used. On the basis of the personal dosha constitution and the complaints, the therapist chooses suitable herbs. These are then used to enrich the base oil. The finished product is called Thaila. The base oil used is usually sesame or coconut oil. If you want to deal with the treatment of specific complaints, apply to perform the Shirodhara best to an Ayurvedic therapist. Theoretically, the application is also possible in-house – but there is a risk that the potential of the therapy by far not exhaust and possibly even to stimulate false points. If you want to gain a first impression of the soothing brow treatment with warm oil, you simply grab a warm oil and massage your forehead with it.
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Oil treatments in Ayurveda
Using soft oils for soothing treatments all over the body has a long tradition all over the world. Even in the Bible is reported by the practice and also in Ayurveda, the so-called liquid gold has been used for millennia for therapeutic treatment. Obtained from nutrient-rich seeds, it is intended to nourish our skin with high-quality ingredients, giving it a healthy glow. In addition, oils are beneficial to our limbs and valuable anti-aging aids.
Because we benefit from so many perspectives, oils have a permanent place in our everyday lives. We use the natural products mainly for moisturizing the skin and hair. Easy to formulate and intensive in the care effect they allow us a gentle and effective care treatment. Even in Ayurveda oils are used in natural cosmetics – but not only by far. For example, the fluid plays an important role in massage. It is used both for the whole body massage (Abhyanga), the anointing of the feet (Padabhyanga) and the head (Shirodhara).
In addition, Ayurveda therapists use beneficial oils for body castings. In the process, oils enriched with Ayurvedic herbs flow through a container onto various body parts in order to free both the body and the mind. The places are by no means chosen randomly: These are special energy centers in our body. In this way, complaints can be specifically combated and the body brought into its natural balance. Even though Ayurveda uses a variety of oil spills, Kaya Seka, the warming full-body cast, and Shirodhara, the frontal cast are among the best known.
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