What is Shiroabhyanga?
Shiroabhyanga is the Sanskrit word for Ayurvedic head massage, meaning literally the application of oil (abhyanga) to the head (shiras). As the head is the seat of many important marma points which control the flow of prana (vital energy) throughout the body, Ayurvedic head massage is a very effective therapeutic tool to induce healing and relaxation. While nothing can compare to the therapeutic massage you can receive from an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner, self-massage of the head and scalp can also be a very beneficial part of one’s regular health and hygiene practice (dinacharya).
Ayurvedic head massage has a long history going back thousands of years. It finds mention in the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Charaka Samhita, in the fifth chapter of its first book, the Sutra Sthana:
Of the one whose head is daily kept moist with oil, sharp headaches do not happen, neither baldness nor graying, nor does the hair fall. |81|
The bones of the head grow exceptionally strong and the hair becomes well-rooted, long and keeps its color. |82|
The senses become clear, the skin of the face becomes smooth and pleasant sleep is obtained. All this is obtained from attending to one’s head with oil. |83|
What are the benefits of Ayurvedic head massage?
As seen in the above extract from the Charaka Samhita, the benefits of Ayurvedic head massage according to ancient Ayurvedic wisdom include:
- Deep relaxation leading to release of nervous tension and relief from stress and tension headaches
- Improved sleep and relief from insomnia
- Improved condition of the hair and scalp, stimulating and deeply nourishing the scalp and hair roots and preventing premature baldness and graying
- Restored harmony and balance of the body’s three doshas
- Improved concentration and clear functioning of the senses
What is the right method for Ayurvedic head massage?
- First you should warm the oil so that it feels comfortable and relaxing. Be careful not to make it too hot so as to be uncomfortable. This can easily be done by using an electric coffee mug warmer! Otherwise placing the oil in a separate container and putting it in hot water will do the trick.
- Apply the oil generously to the head, hair and scalp.
- Gently massage with circular motions the head, neck and face. Make sure to give ample time to massaging the entire crown and scalp, the forehead, temples, ears, behind the ears and neck area.
- Follow with Ayurvedic shampoo for your hair; no other conditioner needed.
- Repeat daily, or minimum weekly, for 5-10 minutes according to your schedule.
What kind of oil should I use?
Sesame oil is one of the most beneficial oils for general massage according to Ayurveda. Coconut oil can also be very good, depending on your dosha (body type). At Auromere we recommend our Pre-Shampoo Conditioning Oil for use in head massage, which is a specially formulated blend of sesame and coconut oil and ayurvedic herbs beneficial for the hair and scalp, including Brahmi, Bhringaraj, Tulsi & Neem. It is a balancing formulation suitable for all doshas and body types.
Wishing you best health and happiness from Auromere!