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Shirodhara comes from the two Sanskrit words “shiro” (head) and “dhara” (flow). It’s an Ayurvedic healing technique that involves having someone pour liquid — usually oil, milk, buttermilk, or water — onto your forehead. It’s often combined with a body, scalp, or head massage.

Ayurveda is a holistic health approach that originated in India thousands of years ago. It focuses on rebalancing the life forces, called doshas, within your body.

Potential benefits

Shirodhara is said to have relaxing, soothing, and calming effects on the body and mind.

Research also suggests that shirodhara may help:

  • improve sleep quality
  • manage insomnia
  • lessen anxiety
  • reduce stress

Keep in mind that most studies looking at the benefits of shirodhara have been pretty small, using only a handful of participants. Still, none of them suggest that the treatment has any negative effects.