How to Give a Shirodhara: Part 1
Let me start by saying that I am not a Doctor of Ayurveda the likes of whom I have great respect for and I fully acknowledge that the understanding of Ayurveda in addition to a long education and internship necessitates a life time of continual study. However I am a researcher into indigenous therapies and have spent a good deal of time in India specifically to track down the origins of dhara and Shirodhara and to document the traditional practices with the intention of bringing my findings to the global spa community and to the Body Wisdom Massage School for our Signature Spa Series here at Body Wisdom European Spa, Premier Spa Indonesia and Best of Asia Spa. You can get an over view of what we are doing on a global level by viewing Body Wisdom Global.
There is considerable confusion in the Western world and especially in the global spa industry regarding what is commonly referred to as Shirodhara, the pouring of oil on the head. Shirodhara as practiced in the spa industry with few exceptions hardly resembles the original tradition whatsoever. This is mostly due to misunderstanding and partly due to practicalities revolving around available personnel and equipment. The second part of the confusion lies in the perpetration of and dissemination of misinformation regarding this 1000’s of years old healing practice.
Shiro (head) and dhara (pouring of oil) is only one of many dhara’s and the pouring of oil is only one of several types of substances that are used for a traditional Shirodhara yet it is the only one commonly known. The purpose of this article is to establish a baseline by explaining the basics of a Shirodhara done in the completely traditional way as I have learned in Kerala in the south of India. Only when we as modern practitioners including the global spa industry can understand the original can we then decide with confidence and wisdom how best to adapt this amazing treatment and still retain the healing spirit and benefits of the original.
It is additional passion of mine is to fully educate the spa-going public as to the difference. It is my belief that only then will many spas desire to change their practices and menus to reflect treatments that are closer to the traditional form and to employ the necessary experts in the field, the adequate number of attendants and the proper equipment to perform a traditional Shirodhara.
In the next post I will discuss the traditional table used for Shirodhara called the Droni Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #2: “The Droni (table)”
Since I will be referring to Ayurvedic constitution in future posts you may want to discover your Ayurvedic constitution by visiting this site and taking their ‘dosha test”.
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #2: “The Droni (table)”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #3 “Shirodhara Pot and Stand”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #4 “Preparations of Medicines”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #5 “Final Preparations for Treatment”
Link to How to Give a Shirodhara Part #6 “Traditional Shirodhara Technique”
Please let me know what you are thinking by commenting on this post
Rhett Hatfield, Owner/Director of Education Body Wisdom School
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