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Clay Shirodhara bowl, India, 2005

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Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic medical treatment. Warm medicated oil is poured from a bowl known as a dhara chatti in a straight line on to the forehead. The treatment aims to restore calm and balance the nervous system and is used for illnesses affecting the head. Ayurveda is an ancient medical tradition from India that encompasses a whole way of life and is still practised today. Preventing disease is just as important as curing it. Ayurveda is derived from two words: ayus, meaning “life” and veda, meaning “knowledge”.

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Glossary: bowl

A round deep basin used for food or liquid

Glossary: Ayurveda

An Indian medical tradition. Literally translated it means ‘Life Science’ and promotes mental and physical health through balancing biological elements. Ayurveda focuses on exercise, massage, yoga and meditation.