UDAIPUR, India // After surviving a Turkish hammam bubble massage in Cappadocia, Chinese cupping therapy in Malaysia, and the deep stretching relief of a Thai massage, I decided a trip to India would not be complete without an Indian Shirodhara treatment. This is a type of Ayurveda massage where warm oil, or another liquid, is poured over the head for 40 minutes from a devise in a slow and steady stream onto your forehead or 3rd eye chakra. This tradition dates back to over 5,000 years ago and is said to awaken intuition and inner wisdom, relieve stress and anxiety, and help mental focus. What I experienced was a deep meditation and what kind of felt like an out of body experience.
I typically love a deep tissue massage and shirodhara definitely fell more under soothing meditation in my book than massage. The oil trickles down the side of your forehead to the back of your neck and stimulates a tingling sensation that can be felt down the length of your spine. It was like those little wire head massagers at sharper image but 100x more intense. At times it felt like my brain and scalp were being molded and warped by slight movements of his hands and the oil. At one point it was even tough to figure out which way was up. I went into a deep meditation of many vivid thoughts floating across my mind like clouds, but now I can't remember a single one. It was a very different experience and towards the end I was ready for something new. Also, when you finish all your hair is drenched in oil and you feel like a grease ball. However, if you think about it as a deep scalp and hair conditioning, it's really like you got two for one. Though I will say even after washing my hair with shampoo three times I still feel the lingering oil in my hair. Although a definitely a different experience, I think I personally prefer my more muscle intense massages.