What is Shirodhara?

This is an ancient Ayurvedic practice in which warmed sesame oil (often infused with herbs) is gently poured over the forehead as the client lies on a special massage couch which allows the oil to drain away. It often follows a seated head massage and is used to calm the nervous system and the mind. ‘Shiro’ means ‘head’ and ‘dhara’ means ‘the dripping of oil like a thread’.

I think my clients would prefer a massage with oil to a dry massage. Can I do an Indian Head Massage treatment using oil all the way through?

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The techniques in an Indian Head Massage treatment (described in Chapter 6) are designed to be performed as a dry massage to achieve maximum therapeutic benefits. If oil is used, the hands tend to slide over the scalp so it is not possible to adequately relieve tight muscles. It is more beneficial to do a short massage with oil at the end of a treatment.

Which essential oils are recommended for a hair oil blend?

Qualified aromatherapists use a range of essential oils on the scalp. These are diluted in carrier oil and include rosemary, sandalwood, geranium, eucalyptus, tea tree and lemon. Rosemary is used to stimulate hair growth. Sandalwood soothes the skin and has powerful germicidal and antiseptic properties. Geranium, eucalyptus and tea tree help to combat head lice. Lemon is cleansing, anti-microbial and controls the flow of sebum. Jasmine oil is popular in India for its beautiful scent and is good in tiny amounts for skin that is hot, dry and sensitive.

What can be used to condition the hair if a client does not like oil?

Aloe vera gel offers an alternative to oil and is excellent for skin and hair care. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties making it useful for conditions such as dandruff. It has superior anti-inflammatory properties and is used to soothe dry, itching skin. It aids cell regeneration, stimulates hair growth and offers some protection from UV rays. It can be mixed with jojoba, making an excellent cream for application to the scalp and skin.

Source: All Yoga Positions

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