Ayurveda Therapy

ShiroVasthi (Special treatment for head)

Shirovasti treatment of head

Shirovasti is a procedure in which the medicated oil is allowed to stay over the head for the prescribed time. It is one among the moordhataila (application of oil on th head). It is beneficial to do Shirovasti after proper purificatory procedures. But in cases where shodhana is not necessary it can be done directly.

 Materials required:

  1. Rexin/leather cap (75 cm X 20 cm)- 1
  2. Black gram flour – 200 g
  3. Oil – 1.5 litres
  4. Cotton ribbon (120 cm X 10 cm)- 2 strips, moderately tough, clean and dry
  5. Spoon -1
  6. Vessel (2 litre) -1
  7. Large vessel- 1
  8. Rasnadi choorna- 5 g
  9. Oil for abhyanga- 100 ml
  10. Soft towel- 2
  11. Hot waterbath-1
  12. Armed chair of knee-height- 1
  13. Attendent-2
Ayurvedic treatment Vasti

Shiro vasti

Pre operative procedure:

Shave the head completely if possible. Do generalised shiroabhyanga abhyanga. Keep cotton cloth in both ears to prevent the entry of oil in to the ear. Bowel and bladder should be emptied .


The patient should be properly seated in an armed chair. The strip of cloth smeared with the paste of black gram flour is to be wound round the head 2 cm above the eye brows. It should be tight enough to prevent leaking of the oil, but not causing any discomfort. The rexin or leather should be fixed over the strap and the junctions are sealed with black gram paste. Another layer of cloth strap smeared with the black gram paste is wraped over this, sealing the junction of rexin and skin layer. The medicated oil is warmed to just above body temperature and poured into the vastiputaka with a strip of cloth touching the scalp and oil being poured from the other end or a long piece of coconut leaflet held obliquely inside the vastiputaka 2 –3cm above the scalp. . The oil is filled up to a height of 2-3cm  above the hair root. To maintain the temperature, some amount of oil should be replaced with warm oil at regular intervals. The procedure should continue till secretions through nose, throat and eyes are observed. In case of non attainment of these lakshanas the time should be fixed as 30 minutes for Kapha, 40 minutes for Pitta and 50 minutes for Vata.The patient should sit comfortably with eyes closed. Oil in kharapaka is preferred. Temperature of the oil should be just above body temperature. During procedure gentle massage to neck and shoulders should be done frequently.Movements of neck should be prevented.

 Postoperative procedure:

At the end of the procedure, a passage is made above the ear, to remove the oil. Oil over the head must be wiped out with a dry cloth, and abhyanga is done over head, shoulder, palms and soles. Rasnadi choorna is rubbed over the head. Take rest for one hour and then, patient should take bath with lukewarm water..

Time:3-6 pm, for 7 days


  1. Ensure that there is no hole in the junction of the cap before pouring to check leakage of oil.
  2. Ensure the uniformity of the taila temperature.
  3. Should not heat oil over direct fire, heat through boiling water.
  4. Patient should not sleep, sneeze, and laugh during the treatment.
  5. Avoid cold food items, cold breeze exposure.
  6. Avoid very hot and cold conditions.

7.Avoid head bath if the disease is contra indicated for the same such as Ardita.

Complications and management:

  1. Sneezing and rhinitis– Talam with Rasnadi choorna and Jambeera swarasa, dhoomapana with Haridra dhooma varti
  2. Neck pain– Local massage
  3. Heaviness of head– Stop the procedure and treat accordingly
  4. Fainting,Headache&Shiverng.Treat accordingly.


The indications also include Vata disorders, Facial paralysis, Insomnias, Cataract, Chronic headaches and Spondylitis. Highly indicative in trigeminal neuralgia, hemi crania, Optic atrophy, Otalgia, Deafness and all disorders affecting cranial the nerves. Shiro basti with ghee treats headache and dermatitis of the scalp. With castor oil, shiro basti treats facial palsy, insomnia, anxiety, dandruff, facial paralysis, and other neurological disorders, and improves memory.

About the author

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

Experienced holistic doctor, healer, teacher, and writer
Specialized in Ayurvedic detox (Panchakarma)
Trained in India and Nepal, the original lands of Ayurveda
Graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the Institute of Medicine at Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu.
Professional member of Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA)
Owner of Sunshine Ayurveda

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