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The Ancient Ayurveda Practice of Shirodhara

By Kathleen Shyptycki, CMT, HHP
A shirodhara session is often described as a soul moving experience.

A shirodhara session is often described as a soul moving experience.

Ayurveda is an ancient practice of healing which views health and disease from a unique perspective. According to Ayurveda, there are five components that can change or influence our energy flow: the food we eat, the quality of our thoughts, the quality of movement (exercise), compassionate touch and most importantly, the giving and receiving of love.

With these five things in balance, we bring our energy body to a very high frequency and experience an abundance of health and wellness.   Should a person choose to work with an Ayurveda practitioner, that practitioner will work with that person to find where and what is creating the imbalance or blockage of the flow of energy.  Shirodhara is a unique treatment used to bring these life forces back into balance.

Shirodhara is one of the most profoundly relaxing and rejuvenating sessions in Ayurvedic therapeutic modalities. Typically, a shirodhara session begins with the gentle stimulation of marma points on the face, scalp and neck. Marma points are vital energy points throughout the body that can be accessed through touch. These points are considered vital because they are infused with prana, or life force. Marma points serve as a bridge between or doorway into the body, mind, and soul.

Stimulation of the marma points is followed by the application of warm herbal oil gently streamed over the forehead which flows down the scalp and back of the head. Stimulation of the marma points combined with the warmed oil cascading down the forehead disarms the defensive and protective nervous system, allowing the recipient to “let go” and experience deep relaxation.

The recipient’s comfort during shirodhara is crucial to the success of this session. First, the oil must be warmed to 100 degrees. If the oil is too hot or too cold it limits or eliminates the benefits of the therapeutic qualities. The recipient’s lower back and neck must be supported appropriately, freeing the body of any structural tension. The room must also be warm and quiet to maximize the rest and relaxation the treatment provides.

When these conditions are met, a shirodhara session is often described as a soul moving experience. The mind that once held trapped emotional stress and tensions accumulated from a lifetime of experiences is gracefully replaced with feelings of love and compassion from the heart. This may take several sessions to achieve, but it is the predicted result of shirodhara.

Kathleen Shyptycki is a certified massage therapist, holistic health practitioner and certified clinical Ayurvedic specialist with Somatherapy Institute School of Massage. For more information visit www.somatherapy.com (760) 321.9214.

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