If you’re looking for an “Asheville spa near me,” chances are you’re looking for an opportunity to relax and reset. While sometimes it’s hard to beat a full body massage, there are many other forms of self-care as well, some with roots reaching as far back as 3,000 years ago.
You may have heard of acupuncture, but have you ever heard of shirodhara? In this article, we break down everything you need to know about shirodhara before you go so you can ask your Ayurvedic practitioner if this practice would be right for your circumstances.
What Is Shirodhara?
A combination of the Sanskrit words for “head” and “flow,” shirodhara (or “shiro” and “dhara”) is an Ayurvedic practice in which a practitioner pours a warm liquid, usually oil, on a participant’s forehead in a thin, constant stream. Different kinds of liquids are recommended for each individual based on their dosha type, also referred to as their constitution. (For more information on Ayurveda and doshas, click here.)
What Are the Benefits of Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is an ancient practice stemming from Indian Ayurvedic medicine that has roots reaching back multiple thousands of years. There are many purported health benefits of shirodhara, but unfortunately, only a few of these can be backed up by clinical studies at this time.
It is thought that shirodhara helps patients to:
- Improve sleep patterns and quality
- Nourish skin, hair, and scalp
- Lower blood pressure and increase circulation
- Activate the intuition center, or the third eye
- Remove toxins
- Rejuvenate and restore the mind and body’s natural energy levels
However, if you’re looking for hard research, shirodhara has been clinically proven to:
- Lessen stress and stress-related symptoms, like high blood pressure or invariable heart rate
- Reduce anxiety
- Manage insomnia
Even if you don’t struggle with sleep issues, anxiety, or stress, shirodhara is generally considered to be a relaxing, enjoyable process for the participant.
How Does Shirodhara Work?
While the actual process of pouring liquid over the patient’s head can take as long as a full hour, it is recommended that shirodhara be performed daily for 3, 7, 14, or 28 days in total for full beneficial effect. This is typically determined by the patient’s dosha type, any existing ailments or illnesses, the patient’s age, and other factors.
Shirodhara often involves a head massage, sometimes reaching down to the neck and shoulders. Most often, oil is placed about 10 centimeters above the patient’s head and dropped in a thin stream above their eyebrows, over their third eye. Sometimes, however, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend something other than herb-infused oil for shirodhara. Alternative liquids can include:
- Coconut water
This list of shirodhara liquids is by no means complete, but gives a general idea of what might be used by an Ayurvedic practioner near you. Common herbs that are infused into the shirodhara liquid include:
- Maha Narayana
How Often to Do I Do Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is beneficial at least once a year but could be done as much as once a month or more, depending on what your Ayurvedic practitioner recommends.
Shirodhara After Care
In Ayurvedic practice, it’s best to keep to fresh, hot foods after shirodhara that are prepared that day. Leftovers and fried foods are not recommended. Immediately after shirodhara, it is best to consume warm water or tea and enjoy a hot shower or steam bath.
Asheville Spa Near Me
Looking for an “Asheville spa near me” is just one step towards experiencing shirodhara. Before your appointment, try to know your dosha type so your Ayurvedic practitioner can recommend oil, milk, coconut water, or some other liquid for the procedure. Regardless of what the science says about the benefits of shirodhara, people have been enjoying this relaxing practice for thousands of years, in India and elsewhere.
Interested in finding a spa near Asheville that practices shirodhara? Book an appointment with The Horse Tree Farm today!