From Dharmapedia Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shirodhara is the process in which medicated oil, milk, butter milk or Kwatha is poured in a continuous stream of drip on the head, especially on the forehead. Depending on the drug components, Dhara[1] is known by different names like Takradhara, Kshira Dhara, Taila dhara, Kwatha Dhara, Jala Dhara.


Dhara, Seka, Parisheka, Avasheka, Secana, Prasecana[1]


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 ksheeradhara,[2] thakradhara,[3] taildhara[3] and jaladhara.[3]

Mode Of Action[edit]

Basis of drug action:[1]

  1. Drugs may modify the synthesis, storage, release or metabolism of the inhibitory or excitatory Neuro-chemical transmitters. Thus, monoamine oxidase inbitors act as antidepressants by inhibiting the destruction of noradrenaline by the enzyme, Mono Amine Oxidaze (MAO) the transmitter dependent actions of drugs can be classified into pre-synaptic and post – synaptic.
  2. Drugs may modify the energy supply of the central nervous system. This may be achieved by local inhibition of the Synthesis of high energy phosphate bonds (barbiturates), by inhibition of action of certain enzymes involved in cellular respiration and energy processors or by increasing or decreasing the availability of the substrate for energy production.
  3. Drugs may act by modifying ionic fluxes across the cell membrane.
  4. Drugs may specifically acts as antagonists of other drugs at receptor levels. It is extremely difficult to define what constitutes psyche or ‘mind’ which is supposed to carry out three functions.
  • Reception of environmental stimuli (cognition)
  • Analyzing the information received and formation of a reaction pattern (affect)
  • The actual behavioral response (conation)

The exact site and mode of action of various psycho-therapeutic agents therefore remain unidentified. By affecting three of the major integrating systems of the brain firstly, they may reduce the incoming sensory stimuli by acting on brain stem reticular formation. The drugs also modify the function of limbic system. Lastly they are known to cause blockage of post synaptic Monoaminergic (noradrenalin, dopamine and 5-hydroxy tryptamine) transmission in the brain, thus leading to a decrease in the central sympathetic activity.

Effect on Autonomic Nervous System: Shirodhara may also have Alpha Adrenergic blocking effect and can thus block certain actions of adrenaline and nor adrenaline. Shirodhara may also act on the adrenergic neuron probably produce their effects by modifying the synthesis storage and uptake mechanisms of noradrenaline.

Effect on Endocrine system: The effect of Shirodhara on hormone secretion can also be postulated considering the effect on hypothalamus as hypothalamus is the main controller of endocrine secretions. The hypothalamic Neurons which secrete the regulatory hormones are themselves under the control of specialized Monoaminergic, neurotransmitter neurons which arise in the mid brain where these latter releases Dopamine, Noradrenaline and Serotonin. In turn, these mid brain nuclei are under the control of visceral brain and are responsive to stress and emotional disturbances.

Regulation of emotional and behavioral patterns: Together with the limbic system with the hypothalamus regulates the feeling of rage, aggression, pain and pleasure and behavioral patterns of sexual arousal ultimately it can be postulated that Shirodhara may be having some effect on hypothalamus resulting in decrease of most of the psychic and somatic disorders.

Researchers have conducted two human clinical trials on the psychoneuroimmunologic effects of shirodhara. [4][5]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 observed.


<templatestyles src="Reflist/styles.css" />

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Salim, Dr Shameen. "Shirodhara (Sneha Dhara) . Live Ayurveda Life - Complete Ayurveda Portal" [archive]. Retrieved 2016-06-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Dhara [archive], Dr. Sudra's Ayurveda
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 What is Shirodhara? [archive],
  4. Uebaba K, Xu FH, Ogawa H et al. (2008). "Psychoneuroimmunologic effects of Ayurvedic oil-dripping treatment." J Altern Complement Med. 14:1189-1198.
  5. Xu FH, Uebaba K, Ogawa H et al. (2008). "Pharmaco-physio-psychologic effect of Ayurvedic-oil-dripping treatment using an essential oil from Lavendula angustifolia." J Altern Complement Med. 14:947-956.

External links[edit]