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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkHealth & Beauty | June 2009 

To Your Health: Shirodhara
email this pageprint this pageemail usMarla Hoover - PVNN

Shirodhara is only available locally at Villa Ananda. Visit the website at
Shirodhara is a holistic treatment that involves pouring warm liquids over the forehead. (Oh, but it is so much more). The word Shirodhara itself means “shiro” or head and “dhara” means stream or flow. The practice began in India over 5000 years ago and is based in Ayurvedic Medicine; a holistic healing science which aims to harmonize the body, mind senses and soul.

Shirodhara can be used as part of a series of weeklong treatments called Pancha Karma. Which is a Ayurvedic program based on individual consultation created to detoxify and rejuvenate with the use of therapies, foods, herbs and oils. Or it can be a delightful spa treatment, usually part of a three tiered experience of steam wrap, massage and then Shirodhara.

The treatment consists of pouring a steady stream of warmed liquids onto the mid forehead in the area known as the “third eye”, a mystical and esoteric concept referring in part to the ajna (brow) chakra in certain Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. It is also spoken of as the gate that leads within to inner realms and spaces of higher consciousness. The liquids used depend on why the treatment is being performed and can be milk, buttermilk (typically used in India) or coconut water. Most commonly essential oils are used which are selected depending on a clients “dosha.”

According to The Chopra Center for Well Being: Each of us inherits a unique mix of three mind/body principles which creates our specific mental and physical characteristics. These three principles are called doshas, known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

Most of us have one or two doshas which are most lively in our nature, with the remaining one(s) less significant. If we are predominantly Vata, we tend to be thin, light and quick in our thoughts and actions. Change is a constant part of our lives. When Vata is balanced, we are creative, enthusiastic and lively. But if Vata becomes excessive, we may develop anxiety, insomnia or irregular digestion. If the Pitta dosha is most lively in our nature, we tend to be muscular, smart and determined. If balanced, we are warm, intelligent and a good leader. If out of balance, Pitta can make us critical, irritable and aggressive. If we have mostly Kapha in our nature, we tend to have a heavier frame, think and move more leisurely and are stable. When balanced, it creates calmness, sweetness and loyalty. When excessive, Kapha can cause weight gain, congestion and resistance to healthy change.

Clients lay on their back on a comfortable spa table, wrapped in blankets with their heads positioned under a free standing copper fountain. Over 20 to 25 minute the warmed scented individually selected oils are then rhythmically poured over the third eye area. Not only will this treatment nourish the scalp and hair, helping to prevent premature graying and cracking of hair, but also enhances blood circulation to the brain and improving memory. However its ultimate use is for mental and emotional therapy.

Shirodhara is a deeply relaxing agent for relieving stress and nervous tension as well as any ill effects on the central nervous system. It is said to work on the mental sheath or “manomaya kosha” as it is referred to in Ayurveda, where the mind hold on to past impressions that create imbalanced desires and habitual patterns of behavior. A series of treatments may be needed for optimal results. The overall effect is one of profound relaxation as the therapy has a balancing effect on the deepest recess of the brain, stimulating the endocrine system, the pituitary and pineal glands and pleasure neurotransmitters. It is also said to aid in synchronizing alpha brain waves, lesson insomnia, and release stored emotions and purifies the mind. In Ayurvedic Medicine, it is considered an important tool in the pursuit of higher states of consciousness thus increasing spiritual awareness.

Personally I can attest that it is a beautiful - truly relaxing procedure that makes you feel groovy, glowy and does indeed enhance inner peace, something that we all could use a slice of during these trying days. Shirodhara is only available locally at Villa Ananda. There Christian Saretzki, an Ayurvedic Practioner who has had extended studies in India and at the Ayurvedic Center in Sarasota, Florida, can assist with an Ayurvedic consultation to recommend the correct oils for each individuals Shirodhara treatment. He and owner Mindy Reser are also available to consult on dietary guidelines, herbals supplements, and offer a plethora of other wonderful Ayurvedic treatments and lifestyle recommendations. Visit the website at

Marla Hoover is a practicing yogini, a registered RN, a Puerto Vallarta Real Estate professional and an accomplished journalist with over 300 published articles in both international and local print and online publications.

Click HERE for more articles by Marla Hoover.

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