Skip to content


Client Essay #1:

 My first formal Sacred Stone Shirodhara Session was given to my husband Andrew.  Andrew had never received shirodhara before and found the experience “indescribable”.  I knew that I wanted Andrew to be my first practice client as he immediately puts me at ease (he is both forgiving and patient).  Though he is a deeply feeling person he isn’t easily impressed by experiences – if an experience is authentic and non pretentious he resonates to it.  I was very curious to see how he would respond to a therapy many describe as “bliss inducing”. He is a classic Vata/Kapha type (although Vata is heightened at the moment – as he is 52 and it is winter time here). Setting the tone of the space for him was informal as this first session took place in our bedroom (I had not yet rented a practice space).

 I struggled with not being able to set the space up intentionally (my specialty) – there wasn’t much physical room to maneuver – so not only was I struggling with the technical aspects of the session I was also struggling to move with ease back and forth and around the table.  I immediately noticed how awkward it was to move hot stones from the warming bath and place them onto, under and next to the client.  I am not experienced in working with hot stones and it was difficult for me to get the temperature right.  The stones started off too hot right out of their bath, but then cooled too rapidly if I dipped them in the cool water bath and by the time they reached their resting point they had almost cooled off completely.  I often needed to return them to the hot water bath before placing them.   I collected my rocks on the beach in Portland Maine and they definitely aren’t basalt.  They are a type of hard glacial metamorphic rock and I am not sure they are ideally suited for this therapy.

 Once the stones were placed I found it awkward to have to move Andrew up and down the table.  For Nasya therapy I had to move his shoulder/neck stones to the side and the orientation of his back and hand stones were altered.  I noted that my future space needed to be set up in a way that made all the steps more streamlined – I would choose to have my tools within easeful reach so that the entire session would flow more smoothly.  I feel that the session itself should mimic the flow of the oil over the third eye – without blips, smooth, confident, slow and steady.

 The Nasya oil application was also a new technique for me and I had difficulty keeping it in Andrew’s sinuses (it eventually ran down his throat).  Karnapurna was extremely messy!  But the application was smooth – I believe that this is because this is a practice I engage in regularly. Suffice it to say – I struggled to create constant uninterrupted flow in preparation for the actual oil flow and that was difficult for me to accept.

 I used a mixture of olive and sunflower oil for Andrew (I did not add dosha specific herbs or oils – opting instead to keep things simple in this aspect).  I was concerned about the quantity of oil we were using and tried to start with less.  This (of course) ended with the oil pour pot running out of oil almost immediately! I saw VERY clearly why you use the amount of oil you do!  I decided then and there to go with a former teachers idea about offering the oil to the client as there personal abhyanga massage oil.  I also decided (as I formulate skin care) to offer to take a portion of the oil – add dosha specific herbs, shea butter, bees wax and so on and make them a personal use balm.

 My strengths in this session were patience with the learning curve and willingness to stay with the experience even though the room was less than I desired for the treatment and use of the equipment was technically challenging in and of itself and extra so with the space constriction.  I am good at holding space and it was obvious that I was able to facilitate an experience for Andrew that altered his consciousness as well as his biology. Afterwards – when I asked him how the experience was for him – he said that it was indescribable.  He has struggled with sinus headaches most of his life and after this treatment something shifted completely.  I could see a gleam in his eye and the beginnings of a brand new era.  Since the experience (Beginning of November 2019) Andrew has had one minor sinus headache (as apposed to 2 to 4 per month previously).  I have noticed that his spirits are dramatically lifted as well.


Client Essay #2:

 The setting for this session was completely different than the first.  I moved all of my equipment, towels, shirodhara table, stones and crock pot etc. to a small yoga space in downtown Portland where I was experimenting with a treatment space share.  Moving everything was in and of itself a formidable task and where I struggled in the first session with lack of space – here there was too much space (difficult to keep warm) and absolutely no counter top (I spent a lot of time squatting – actually not a bad thing).

 Andrea is a counselor with a private practice.  I believe she is primarily a Vata/Kapha type with Vata in play (age/season)  She had never experienced shirodhara before and was struggling with low energy, mild anxiety, excessive mental chatter and low mood. I was hopeful that the shirodhara experience would help her to relax, rest and rejuvenate.  I knew that she was pondering some big life decisions and I came to the session with the intention that it would help to provide space for her to consider these things from a place of spaciousness.

 For this session I heated the rocks for longer at a higher temperature.  This might sound strange given my first session, but it helped to keep the rocks at the right temperature. As I fished them out of their hot bath and dipped them briefly into their cool bath they held just the right temperature. Rock placement went far more smoothly.  In fact most of the session leading up to the oil pour went smoothly.  I had more towels on hand (both wet and dry).  I had a towel placed under Andrea’s head to catch excess karna purna oil (much less messy this time).

 Andrea was struggling with laying still.  It was almost as if she had jumpy legs.  I did ask her a couple of times if she wanted a bolster under her knees.  She declined.  When it came to time for her to experience the oil pour I used an u medicated olive and sunflower oil mixture.  This time I opened the pour spout more (nearly full stream) than I had with Andrew and even though I was using the full amount of recommended oil it ran out very quickly.  Of course – Andrea knew that this was a practice session and thus mistakes might be made.  I adjusted the pour spout opening and began again.  This was the session where I noticed how much the bar on the shirodhara stand shook whenever I changed out pitchers – thus causing the oil to shudder while pouring onto Andrea’s third eye.

 Because Andrea had difficulty lying still the stand and pour vessel had to constantly be re adjusted.  This session felt overwhelmingly disjointed to me over all.  The foreign space, the newness of the technology, the generally agitated energy.  I believe that I was insistent at holding intention for Andrea, but I definitely struggled with the amount of chaos that seemed to permeate the experience.  In the end I was able to give her 15 minutes of gentle consistent flow and by the time she sat up on the table she was smiling and looking more relaxed.  She seemed to have bee delighted by the whole experience over all and expressed to me later that she felt more relaxed and was sleeping better.  She said that she thought that it had helped.

 I realized from this session that I needed to only offer Shirodhara in my newly acquired office.  That this type of shirodhara did not have mobile capabilities.  I believe that I finished well in this session – despite the technical difficulties in oil application. I was also able to hold intention for Andrea despite the chaotic and distracting energy present in the session.  It became very clear to me why we do not hug our clients before a session – we must hold a space for them from the energy field that we have cultivated before they arrive for their session. Otherwise we may be mired in whatever they bring with them to the space. This is not a criticism – the client is coming to experience healing – I am there to facilitate and hold the doorway open for that process to unfold.


Client Essay #3:

This session was definitely the turning point in my practice sessions.  I was able to create an intentional space in my very own office and I felt more confident and grounded. For Melissa’s session I followed your lead with your beautiful mala “heart” placed on the treatment bed before the session.  In this heart I placed rose quartz, amethyst and blue kyanite.  I smudged the space with palo santo, I chanted and meditated for ten minutes before Melissa’s arrival.  Melissa seems to be of Vata/Pitta constitution and had just been through a very stressful experience when she took on the state of Maine last fall fighting for our right to choose whether or not we vaccinate our children and ourselves.  I was so in awe of Melissa’s efforts and wanted to offer her something profoundly soothing, grounding and relaxing after this extremely depleting experience.

Melissa was so gracious and grateful for the care and attention she received.  I began with stone placement (asking her to touch every stone to make sure it wasn’t too hot).  As you saw in my video I have my counter set up next to my treatment table.  I tried to organize each item as it arises within the series so that I not only jogged my memory of what to “do” next, but also made the transition between “tool” and treatment more streamlined. I found myself referring to my “recipe” book less and I was able to sink into the experience with Melissa more than I had in the previous two sessions.

Once again there was a bit of wrestling with the equipment.  Once I got Melissa’s oil pouring smoothly over her third eye I found that her head rest was not slanted enough and that the oil was pooling more than it was pouring back into the pitcher. I needed to adjust her head rest mid treatment and this was disruptive to the oil pour causing the stream to find its way over and under her eye pillow.  Once again I was using a non medicated oil so there was no major cause for concern.  Melissa actually said she didn’t mind the oil passing over eye lids and we joked that she was also experiencing a netra basti treatment!

Something very interesting took place with Melissa – her third eye kept “moving” (I can’t remember if you talked about this in your video or I read this somewhere else or I just intuitively know this, but it was as if the chakra was pushing the oil “off” and I associated it with an overactive mind) as if she were moving or the table or equipment, but nothing was moving.  I practiced moving the oil along her hair line several times and was finally able to get the stream to settle. Everything was smooth for the final ten minutes of the session – until the very end when I thought it was somehow advisable to remove the pot from the stand!  I am not sure why I thought this was a good idea – it resulted in much metal on metal clanging!  I will not attempt that again.

Despite a few misjudgments – Melissa’s session felt the most like a meditation for me of all the previous sessions.  Afterwards she told me that she could hear better. She came in with dry/sallow skin and left with glowing radiant skin and rosy cheeks.  She was struggling with restful sleep and hoped that this would help.  I would love to offer her a second session and feel that she would benefit greatly from a series of regular treatments.  I know that so much of this sessions success was my ability to set the space, feel confident in it, create an initial tone with meditation and energy cleansing. This was how I wished to set the tone for every future session.


Client Essay #4:

Laurie and I met in massage school. We have both been through a very rough patch with that and other personal/professional challenges.  Like me – Laurie was bullied by the director and ultimately expelled from the program in December of last year.  She and I are both older women with teenaged children and quite a bit of life experience.  We are both well versed in esoteric ideas, holistic wellness and complementary care.  We feel that our knowledge was seen as something of a threat to the owner of the school we attended (as we both have extensive outside training in a variety of modalities).  I knew that I wanted to offer Laurie something special … something that would help her understand me better, help her to recover from this blow to her education and future profession and I knew she would be willing to be filmed and to give me excellent feedback!

Honestly Laurie’s session made me a bit nervous.  I did set the tone, but being filmed made it difficult for me to relax. Laurie was wonderful (of course).  She was patient and afterwards she told me everything she thought.  I believe Laurie is a Pitta/Vata.  She is very exacting.  Her training is in cranial sacral therapy and reiki and she had never received anything Ayurvedic. She felt that the treatment was something one would experience in a high end spa setting.  She saw it as luxurious.  I see it as sensual.  In fact I had a very big hit during this session that my love for Ayurveda rests in its sensual nature.  Laurie expressed to me that later that day she noted (with great delight) that she could see more clearly!

Laurie’s session was quite sweet and I loved that I was able to adjust the equipment fairly ease fully.  As you can see from the video not a lot of adjusting was needed and all adjustments went fairly smoothly.  I do think that it was difficult for Laurie to relax – as she was coming to the session as one student to another – eager to provide feedback and not so ready to “fall” into this profound experience.  I would like to treat her again and invite her to “let it all go” this time.

Client Essay #5:

This session was definitely the most fulfilling and seamless of all of my practice sessions.  I created an intentional space in my office by energetically clearing, meditating and practicing mantra. For Carol’s session I (once again) followed your lead with your beautiful mala “heart” placed on the treatment bed before the session.  Once again – I placed rose quartz, amethyst and blue kyanite.  Carol was in a vespa accident in May of 2019 and suffered a traumatic brain injury.  I have been wanting to work with her with Shirodhara for some time, but wanted to wait at least 6 months (per Shiordhara contraindications) before our session.  Carol is slowly recovering with time and the help of her medical team.  I have been able to offer some herbal and energetic support to her as well over the past 9 months, but I was so looking forward to this Shirodhara session.

Carol is a good friend and always grateful for the care she receives from me and our session was not exception.  I began with stone placement (always asking her to touch every stone to make sure it wasn’t too hot).  I found myself looking to my recipe book less and less.  In my last session (with Laurie) I discovered that I could set up my counter so that each item is available in the order it arises within the series so I create a way to jog my memory of what to “do” next.  I felt like all of the previous sessions led to so much more comfort around the mechanics of this work.  I was able to tap more deeply into the spirit of this work.

Having learned from previous sessions about the angle of the head rest, lowering the Shiro equipment, raising the table, a better sense of distance and equipment placement in general there was very little wrestling with the tools.  Once I got Carol’s oil pouring smoothly over her third eye I was able to complete more regular movement across her forehead.  I knew (based on previous sessions) how long it took for the oil to run low in the Shiro basin and my confidence grew to add more movement along the hair line. I was able to keep the stream of oil away from Carol’s eyes and flowing ease fully back into the warming pitcher.

Carol was very relaxed during the oil pouring portion of the Shirodhara.  The one thing that I noticed as a practitioner (this was also brought up in the first type of Shirodhara I studied – Tibetan) – that sometimes there is a kind of “bubble” within the flow of the oil that causes a kind of “blip” in the flow.  I do find it difficult to get the flow right – it has to be a fairly thin stream in order to have time to move around the forehead before the refill, but at this flow rate it struggles with the bubble/blip.  If I open the valve beyond that blip – the oil simply pours out too quickly to do much except refill. Just an interesting thing to note and something that I was definitely wrestling with a bit during this session.

Carol’s session was definitely the strongest for me.  I saw (once again) that strength comes from practice and intention builds upon practice.  Carol was glowing and deeply relaxed after the session.  Holding space, clearing space and building spiritual intention are paramount in the success of Shirodhara (and – truly – any healing modality!).  I have seen time and time again that these three efforts are key to how the session goes.  As I build confidence with the tools and mechanics of this particular therapy – these deeper essentials become more prominent.  I am very interested to hear how this session effects Carol’s healing process!