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Shirodhara
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Shirodhara

Ayurvedic Medicine

Panchakarma

Ayurvedic Medicine

Prakriti / Constitution

Ayurvedic Medicine

Basics

The most commonly employed pre-procedure, it means `the dripping of oil like a thread (dhara) on the head (shiro). This treatment drips warm oil in a steady stream on the forehead, particularly on the brow and in the region between the eyes. It is often added to the Panchakarma regimen because it pacifies Vata and calms the central system.

 

 Shirodhara - Shirodhara - relaxing during this treatments drops warm oil on the forehead

It cleans both the mind and the senses, which allows the body's natural healing mechanisms to release stress from the nervous systems. This in turn, improves mental clarity and comprehension. Usually given for twenty minutes, three to four times during a seven-day treatment period, it uses oils made with special herbs (Mahanarayan Oil, Mahamash Oil etc.) that calm and nourish the nervous system. The technician administers the oil in a thin stream which flows from a copper vessel hung approximately 6-8 inches above the patient's forehead.

Shirodhara - relaxing during this treatments drops warm oil on the forehead

Fomentation Therapy

Fomentation, or sweating, necessarily follows oleation. Induced by heat from different sources it brings sweat on the skin through hair follicles by opening the pores of the skin. Due to fomentation the agni is increased and the fatty tissue gets mobilised. While throwing out waste as ama (toxins) through the skin it also helps liquify aggravated doshas, dilating all body channels for the cleansing.

It is divided into two main types, Agni Sweda wherein heat is applied directly as steam and Anagni Sweda where no external heat source is necessary e.g exercises, fighting, walking, lifting heavy loads, exposure to sunlight, stay in centrally heated rooms, putting heavy blankets over the body etc.

Charaka has described about thirteen types of fomentation of which some are in practice now.
Upanaha Sweda - fomentation by poultice
Ushma Sweda - steam fomentation
Nadi Sweda - local steam fomentation (steam/vapour of medicated decoction of leaves)
Avagah Sweda - tub bath in warm decoction of medicated water.
Pizichili - pouring of oil on the body.

After this therapy patients are advised to go for rest, avoid cold, take warm baths and get adequate fresh air. Nasal therapy, enema or bloodletting can be undertaken immediately after fomentation. Purgation should be done only after two days of fomentation. However, care should be taken to ensure that no part of the treatment is missed out on as that would not only reduce efficacy but may even prove detrimental.

Once the body has been correctly and suitably prepared, under supervision of a qualified doctor only should the administering of Panchakarma happen. It is best to depend on a reputed Ayurvedic nursing home and experienced Ayurvedic doctors.

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This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
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