Spa Review: Shiro Dhara Ayurvedic oil therapy


You might not know the name Shiro Dhara but you’ll surely of heard of the famous Ayurvedic treatment where litres of oil are poured onto your third eye. Asma Merchant tries it out at Breath and Health Alternative Medical Centre.

When our Editor decided to send me for an Ayurvedic massage, I had visions of oil being poured onto my forehead from a pot hanging above.

I had a consultation with the in-house Ayurvedic specialist, Dr. Oseela, who asked me a few questions to figure out my constituent or dosha to customise the oils to be used. She also pre-warned me that Ayurvedic massages are medicinal and therapeutic and it might be a good idea to not expect a relaxing and aromatic massage.

With all of this information, I was led into a warm low-lit room by Maria, a certified Ayurveda therapist. The first part was going to be a 75 minute long Herbal Soothe massage (known as Kizhi). Now,
I was expecting to hold my breath the whole time as I was told the oils can be a bit pungent but in fact I found the smell soothing. It was a heady mix of turmeric and thyme and a lot of different herbs.

Maria could immediately tell that I do not go for massages regularly and sit at a desk all day. She worked the kinks out of my stiff neck and shoulders. It was a tad painful but I knew I was in expert hands by the way she worked on me gently yet firmly. She completely took me by surprise when she found an achy area on my foot and asked me if I had stomach problems. Spot on!

This was followed by heated herbal pouches being patted all over to release the muscle tension. I quite enjoyed that. By the end of 75 minutes my body was absolutely invigorated, yet my mind was relaxed.

On to the next part, which was a 45 minute Shiro Dhara treatment, also called Tranquility. Turns out this is the famous imagery seen everywhere. About six litres of warm medicated oil trickles through your forehead to mentally relax you. In my case, that didn’t happen. After the initial bliss of releasing tension in my head, I was quite uncomfortable for the rest of the time. Maria was intuitive enough to figure that out and assured me it happened only to a handful of people. Most people fall asleep during this treatment. Apparently the monkey mind of my constituency is to blame.

I got about 11 hours of uninterrupted sleep later and my body felt recharged the next morning.



The word Ayurveda is translated as ‘science of life’ or ‘life knowledge’. It is a system of traditional medicine and approach to living that traces its roots to the earliest known civilisation in India, a people who lived in the Indus valley from BC3000 to BC1500.

All about balance, Ayurveda is used to both prevent and cure illness and stresses
the use of plant-based medicines and treatments. It explains the nature of everything in the universe and teaches us how to live
in harmony with the natural world, knowing the connections that we share. Hygiene is a central practice of Ayurvedic medicine, which involves regular bathing, cleansing of teeth, skin care, and eye washing.



Herbal Soothe (Kizhi): 75 minutes AED 490
In this treatment, warm herbal bags are used to massage the entire body to release tension and revitalize the mind. The heat and aromas from fresh herbs slowly seep into the muscles reducing spasm and stiffness; pains and aches; fatigue and lethargy. Excellent for back aches, enhances peripheral blood circulation, cleanses the channels of circulation and detoxify.

Tranquility (Shiro Dhara): 45 minutes AED 450
A stream of medicated herbal oil is poured onto the forehead to dissolve stress and tension. A body massage is included in the process. Very effective for mental relaxation, sleep disturbance, head ache, hair problems and skin diseases.

Discount! Mention Awakenings when you book and get the two treatments for AED 890

Breath and Health Alternative Medical Centre

Dubai ́s premier wellness centre, Breath and Health helps people transform their lives through a host of traditional and modern therapies that focus on your lifestyle as well as your health issues. Therapies include Ayurveda, cupping, colon hydrotherapy, ear candling, facial and peel treatments, a range of massage techniques, lymphatic drainage, shiatsu, detox wrap, reflexology, hot stone therapy, yoga, Tai Chi, Hammam, nutrition and diet, Quantum Biofeedback and Electromagnetic Wave Therapy.

Breath and Health Alternative Medical Centre
1080, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suquim 2, Jumeirah, Dubai Tel. +971 4 3489940


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