Shirodhara: The treatment for stress induced hypertension
Mind (Mann) possesses three qualities, Satva, Raja and Tama. Since mind and living body are interdependent, psychological set up of an individual plays important role in management of health. Imbalanced in any one leads to Manovaha Strotas dushti. It is considered Satwika Manas as healthy and Rajas Manas and Tamas Manas are considered as Manasika dosha. Shirodhara is the awakening of intelligence on the cellular level.
Shirodhara is one of the most powerful Ayurvedic Panchakarma treatments to relieve anxiety in the mind. Shirodhara is the specific treatment for any other disorders that are stress related. Shirodhara, one of the classical Ayurvedic treatments in which medicated liquid is poured continuously on the forehead. This procedure induces a relaxed state of awareness that results in a dynamic psycho-somatic balance.
Today, stressful lifestyle is being followed by a maximum number of populations. Due to which, hypertension is now common among the people of all age groups. It has been observed that chronic exposure to psychological stress can cause increased blood pressure in the arteries. Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. For human beings in this world maintenance and restoration of both body and mind is essential. Stress is directly connected with mental state. Hypertension is a public health concern due to its magnitude, risks, difficulty in management, high medical costs and severe cardiovascular, neurological and renal complications.
According to Ayurveda, hypertention is raktagata vata rog. Hypertension treatment in Ayurveda has a long-term and deeper impact because instead of controlling symptoms, it treats the root-cause of the problem. Hypertension without specific symptoms in its mild and moderate stages cannot be considered as a disease in Ayurveda. It appears to be an early stage of cardiovascular disease and a risk factor for development of diseases affecting the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes etc. Improper food habits and modern sedentary lifestyle, stress provokes and vitiates all the Tridoshas to trigger the pathogenesis of hypertension. It is proposed that hypertension is to be understood as the Prasara-Avastha which means spread of vitiated Doshas from their specific sites, specifically of Vyana Vata, Prana Vata, Sadhaka Pitta and Avalambaka Kapha along with Rakta in their disturbed states.
Early signs of hypertension:
- Dizziness: Sudden dizziness or loss of balance should not be ignored. While dizziness can also be due to blood pressure medication but if you are not on medication and experiencing dizziness, it is advisable to consult the doctors.
- Face flushing: While it can also occur due to the exposure to harsh sun rays or due to consumption of any alcoholic or spicy content but if that’s not the case, there is a possibility that you might be in the early stage of high blood pressure or hypertension.
- Nose bleeding or headaches are commonly referred as factors of high blood pressure but take some rest before panicking or reaching any conclusions.
Application of liquid medicines by pouring continuously on any part of body for a prescribed time is called Seka or Dhara and on head it is called ‘Shirodhara” The word shiro means head and the word dhara means stream. Shirodhara is a classical and a well-established ayurvedic procedure of slowly and steadily dripping medicated oil or other liquids on the forehead.
Techniques of Shirodhara:
There are several kinds of dhara techniques, depending on the medium for dripping. For example, takra dhara uses takra that is prepared with the curd of cow’s milk. Kshira dhara uses cow’s milk mixed with some medicinal herbs such as Sida cordifolia or Asparagus rasemosus. Taila dhara uses medicated oil mixed with cow’s milk, water, herbs, and sesame oil. Different liquids are used depending on the conditions being treated. Commonly used liquids include water, various oils, buttermilk, or coconut water. Important points to be remembered during Shirodhara are as follows:
- The oil stream or dhara should be thick and heavy.
- The oil stream should be continuous so that if the treatment needs to last an hour, it can be provided.
- The oil needs to be warmed and needs to be maintained just above body temperature at all times.
- The stream needs to be moveable and not stationary.
Benefits of Shirodhara:
Shirodhara soothes and invigorates the senses as well as the mind. A total state of wellness is induced in the process. Shirodhara act as a stress management techniques that reduce blood pressure. Thus Shirodhara helps to reduce the stress which will positively affect the health.