When my friends told me about this massage where they drip oil on your head, I wasn’t sold until I heard their impressive revelations. One of my friends saw Jesus. Another said her wrinkles went away. One woman received a powerful premonition that saved her from an unhealthy relationship. My curiosity was piqued – Tibetan Shirodhara here I come!
What is Shirodhara?
Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic treatment that is said to stimulate the pituitary gland or “third eye” by dripping a continuous flow of warm oil onto your forehead. It is believed that stimulating this area – your third eye and crown chakra – awakens inner wisdom and intuition.
The subtle stimulation of the warm oil covering your head and scalp brings you into a deep meditative state. For those of you that believe in Ayurveda, this process helps balance your dosha, especially if you are vata or pitta.
The massage therapist picks the type of oil based on your dosha. For vata (air), sesame oil is common. Coconut oil or warmed milk is soothing for pitta (fire). Not sure about your dosha? Here’s a dosha test to find out.
This bio-psycho-spiritual experience has many healing benefits. Here are a few:
- Stress relief and deep relaxation
- Increased mental clarity and focus
- Helps with insomnia
- Eases worry and recursive thinking
- Aides release of toxins during a cleanse
- Reduces anxiety
- Better decision making skills
- Rejuvenates your skin and scalp
What To Expect
In general, Shirodhara treatments begin with a body massage. My experience started out with a foot scrub, massage, and foot soak. Since I am on a spring cleanse, my massage therapist wanted to help my body release toxins. By starting with the feet, we were able to help get things moving.
Side-note: Did you know your body’s largest organ is your skin? That is why massages and dry brushing help your body release stored toxins. It helps get those pesky toxins pushed out through your skin.
Next, came the full body massage, called Abhyanga in Ayurveda. Abhyanga is a unique combination of vigorous, quick strokes mixed with deep pressure.
My massage therapist incorporated a marma point (energy points) massage that immediately settled my nervous system. Marma points massage is said to clear and harmonize all the systems of the body, like acupuncture and chinese medicine. Abhyanga coupled with marma point pressure left my mind and body in a relaxed and receptive state, a seamless and perfect transition to the oil dripping treatment.
During the oil dripping part, your eyes are protected from the oil dripping. The oil flows down your head and through your hair, cultivating a mesmerizing sensation. The dripping effect starts out gradual, and then you lose yourself in the experience.
When complete, there is extra time given to allow the experience to seep into your whole being. Plan on more time than a typical massage. Before returning to the real world, you will want to wash your hair.
Afterwards, a delicious array of tri-dosha balancing foods awaited me. What a treat! My massage therapist was the perfect guide into this unforgettable healing experience. From her grounded presence, soothing music, and calming aromatherapy, my worries and stress quickly evaporated. The personal touches made all the difference.
My Aha Moment
Some people experience colors, lights, or images during Shirodhara. Others may have dramatic visualizations or mental clarity. The best way to go into this experience is with an open mind, staying present in your body.
Leading up to the Shirodhara, there were moments where I visualized myself in peaceful settings. I got lost in the imagery. There was one where I was frolicking through fields of tall grass on a sunny day, and another where I was watching the ocean waves from a bird’s eye view. These images were mixed with happy memories and moments of pure bliss.
Then, as the sesame oil began to flow, I stretched to make sure it landed on my forehead. Then, it dawned on me. The oil is coming towards me; I don’t have to try so hard. This quickly translated to, “Stop trying so hard, just be you.” Then a big, bold message rang out: “I am enough.” This revelation was profound. I kept hearing the words, “I am enough” and a sense of ease and lightness came over me.
Everyone needs to experience a Tibetan Shirodhara at least once in their lifetime! Afterwards, my face felt bright and alive, and there was a sense of spaciousness in my thoughts. I was clear headed and energized, while feeling relieved to know I don’t have to try so hard. I am enough just the way I am.
To book a Shirodhara session with Theresa Blacker, please visit her website at http://www.theresablackner.com