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For some reason this treatment has been on mind to try for years, but I never seemed to find the right place.  When I was planning my trip to Florida I finally found a place that looked perfect in Naples, but I couldn't get a reply from them about booking and eventually I arrived far too late to have had the treatment anyway (two wrongs do make a right!)


So on my return I thought it was high time I found this treatment and had a go.  Quite by chance I decided to take a look at the ultimate destination spa; Ananda in the Himalayas, started reading about the ILA range of treatments, clicked on their website and then to Jivita Ayurveda where they were offering a special offer of one hour body massage – Abhyanga and a half hour Shirodhara treatment for only £50.  Perfect.


I called, booked and within a few days was lying on a bed having the treatment I'd dreamed about for years.


(See also Ayurvedic Massage for more information about this school of massage and lifestyle.)


Shirodhara consists of having warm oil poured in a constant stream across your forehead, stimulating the third eye chakra, which is related to intuition and what you may think of as psychic abilities – the ability to see into the future included.  It's recommended to help clear the mind, detox the brain and is also often helpful for people who are having difficulty sleeping.

Jivita Ayurveda advertise this as having a little shoulder, neck and facial massage, but as I had this with the Abhyanga massage it all blended into one wonderful long treatment.  The therapist did tell me when the Shirodhara was about to start and tilted back my head so the oil ran over my hair and was never anywhere near my eyes (just in case you're worried about this).


After waiting years for this treatment I was impatient for it to start, and when it did I felt… a slight anticlimax.  I think one of the reasons I wanted to try this, but was also hesitant, is that I have had strong experiences before when massages have stimulated my third eye chakra.  I remember reading before that when working with the third eye it's very important to remember to focus on intuition rather than on specific images; that a general feeling can be much more "accurate" than focusing on what we feel an image may be trying to tell us.  For example an image of a wedding dress does not necessarily mean a wedding will actually happen.  I think I was also nervous as these kind of treatments often send me strong images and inspiration and I couldn't handle much more inspiration.


As I waited for whatever effect this treatment was going to have on me I did enjoy the lovely warm oil, but started to get a little bored.  Then I started to see really strong images but this time they were of the past and it suddenly occurred to me that instead of always thinking "what's next?" I could stop, slow down and enjoy looking backwards.  I remembered that the brain is the most incredible of entertainment centres and I could, at a moment's notice, conjure up the sights, sounds, smells and feeling of a sunset seen from a hammock in Key Largo, or a wonderful dinner with a friend, it's all right there, stored and ready to be rejoiced in.


When I am meditating I am usually concentrating on letting go of the past and future and focusing instead on the now and taking action in the now, but this can be exhausting and I realised that it's okay to take time to enjoy our future; our dreams and to luxuriate in our past experiences – not in an attempt to hold onto the past or change it, simply to honour and enjoy it.


I often get exactly what I need from treatments and this Shirodhara treatment left me with a deep sense of peace and contentment and being exactly where I was supposed to be rather than constantly rushing into the next moment.


Over the next week I had an unusual side effect.  Whereas many people use Shirodhara to heal them of nightmares and insomnia I started to have disturbing dreams.


As I worked on what was coming up for me I realised I had been pushing down certain feelings, trying to ignore them, and as soon as I honoured them and asserted myself I felt my life getting right back on track.  As I have said before healing isn't always easy, and detoxification of the body can be unpleasant but definitely worth it, and so it is with the mind too.


This treatment was incredibly worth it for me, both at the time and over the next week and I would definitely have it again if I felt I needed another mind detox.


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