shirodhara

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Postby shivashiva on Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:40 pm

The way I learned it plain water was never suggested as a substance to use. Obviously some people do, I'm describing how I learned. There is something called Cristalmind which is like a self-contained shirodhara machine that works only with water. As I understand it, there are a couple reasons for using a medicinal substance like oil or buttermilk or something besides plain water. One is that an effect of the treatment is simulating the feeling of being in the womb, the head encased in amniotic fluid. What we learned was that warm oil has a similar texture to amniotic fluid. I myself have never felt such fluid, so maybe someone else can comment on that. Also, the oil and herbs infused in the oil are medicinal in and of themselves and I won't go into the whole thing (partly because I don't know the exact details), but Ayurveda loves oil, and it is supposed to penetrate deep into the tissues and do all kinds of special stuff, lubricating the insterstitial space and stuff.

So for those reasons I would prefer oil to water. But why not try it? If it's more practical and has a similar effect in terms of relaxation, then why not? Let us know if you do!
Shiva
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Postby squash_blsm on Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:11 am

We are going to start offering Shirodhara at our spa.
I just had training last week but still need practice.

Good idea about the pump - I will look into it.
This must be the web-site...
http://www.ajaraskincare.com/

And I was taught that water or salt water does not have the right feel or same sensation as the oil. It also cools more quickly.
( I am thinking Chinese water torture here :lol: )
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Postby peacenut on Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:16 am

How important is it to have different oils for different doshas? Is there any thing that would be considered an all purpose blend or even an all purpose single oil? I would be more inclined to offer it as a relaxation based service and have the dosha balancing be secondary.
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Postby shivashiva on Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:09 am

A great tridoshic oil blend is 1/2 sesame and 1/2 sunflower. You could also use 100% grapeseed, but I have heard mixed reviews about that (byproduct of the wine industry, thus lots of pesticides and impurities. but easy to wash out!)

Shirodhara is pretty much balancing to all doshas, especially Vata, and every stressed out person has their Vata out of whack. I can look up the specific contraindications if you like, but they are pretty basic, and similar to massage contraindications.
Shiva
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Postby shivashiva on Thu Sep 11, 2008 10:31 am

I am answering some questions from another thread, What Spa treatment is selling best for you?

peacenut wrote:We need to come up with a plan to make Shirodhara more accesible to therapists. Especially if it can be done in a dry room and we encourage clients to take advantage of the nourishing benefits of the oils by wearing it home.

I am totally put off by the price of Shirodhara equipment. There must be a way to make ourselves or have someone locally make it for us for a lot less than $600.

What are these things made of?? Let's come up with some plans, I wanna build one.


I don't know if I'm all for making shirodhara more accessible to therapists. On the one hand it's good. It gives Ayurveda a wider audience, and it's so healing and wonderful. On the other hand, the more therapists are aware of it, the more times the treatment will be given badly (and that is sooo easy to do), and will sort of give Ayurveda a "bad rap." I hate to sound elitist here, but I know I am. In a certain way I like the fact that you have to be really serious and really devoted to this treatment to give it, at least serious enough to either spend $600, or spend 10 hours (which equals $600) figuring out to build one and building it yourself.

That being said, I am all about free information and so here's all the info I have about equipment. :) You can see the current equipment I use here: http://www.presencemassage.com/shirodhara.html Scroll down for the detailed pictures. This was the setup that cost $600 from Ajara Skincare. It's essentially some copper tubing put together in a specific way, and it's not even a very good way to do it, because no matter how you place it, the base is always in your way on the floor and easy to step on, thus upsetting the flow of oil. Also, it's not very sturdy in general. I have seen people place large rocks over the base to hold it down. This stand is not attached to the table at all, and the little table you see the blue pans sitting on is attached to the stand.

Here are some pics from my training at the Ayurvedic institute (it's me giving and receiving the treatment in these pics):

Image
Image

This set up is extremely cheap and perfect, but it takes a little more legwork and engineering to do. It's probably something like this that you are talking about, peacenut. The piece of curved metal that you see is attached to the table. In fact, this table is a shirodhara only table. It's basically a wooden homemade table with some padding on top. This would be ideal if you have the space to have a dedicated shirodhara table. I currently don't. I talked to one of the therapists there and she had a way of building the same set up as shown in these pics and it could attach and detach from a regular massage table. Essentially the foundation portion would screw into the massage legs where the knobs and holes already are. This way no part of it would be on the floor and it's very difficult to bang into, which is a real bonus. The top portion is something you get from a chemical company, some kind of flask holder or something. In this scenario you would need a stool below to place your pans on, but it's great because the stool is separate from the shirodhara stand, so you can move it around independently which is convenient. The person who advised me said you have to get the metal piece made by a metalworker, so I haven't gotten around to that part yet.

shannah wrote:I am also interested in this as an addition to my practice. I would love to know a few more details such as what are some of the common effects your clients have experienced? What are the prices and session lengths that everyone is offering? Also, somewhere to find a therapist that offers this (so I can try it!) would be great!


My clients commonly experience deep deep relaxation, going into a dream-like state. I liken this to massage for the mind. Even when you get a great massage, many people still cannot let go of their minds. For most people (there are some exceptions) this treatment forces the mind to let go. You can wake up feeling truly refreshed. I really think that Shirodhara paired with a full body massage is the best treatment ever.

For a 60 minute shirodhara which includes foot massage, head/neck massage, and 30 minutes of shirodhara I charge $85. I use $15 worth of organic oils, and spend about 20 minutes doing cleanup. For a 90 minute shirodhara which includes a full body massage and 30 minutes of shirodhara I charge $115.

I know there are others on this board that practice shirodhara. I would love to hear from you about your set-up and prices as well!
Shiva
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Postby peacenut on Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:36 pm

Thanks for the info Shiva!

Your drip vessel doesn't seem to have a flow control valve on it. Has that ever been an issue for you or doesn't being able to control the flow matter that much? I have seen other pots with a valve on them.

What type of heater is that under the oil catching pan? Is it just a regular hot plate? I imagine there is a thermometer in it?? I have a small stool like that in my rooms too. It is called a 'milking stool.' I use it to sit on when I work clients feet.

Do you think an IV pole would work? They sell them on ebay for about $20 plus shipping, less if you are lucky. Depending how tall they are, perhaps the top portion of the IV pole could be cut off and soldered on so it is horizontal? And then it could be painted with copper or brass colored spray paint so it matches the oil vessels.

Where can you buy just the vessel?? Possibly with chains as well? How large of a vessel do you need?

What kind of pans are the the drip pans? Will any cooking type pan do?

Have you ever used chakra crystals with a shirodhara treatment?

And THANX!

I love brain storming!
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Postby peacenut on Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:44 pm

Seems these poles (or at least the one I found) extends to right about 7 feet tall. I think its doable. I am going to make sure my dad can solder stainless steel. I don't think it would be a problem at all.

Image

This guy is going to wonder why he is getting so many hits!

http://tinyurl.com/632lv2

Edit: too long url shortened using tinyurl.com (tech admin)
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Postby shivashiva on Fri Sep 12, 2008 9:45 pm

Cool! I love your ideas. My only questions about the IV thing are how sturdy it is. I personally would not want to have a stand that is on wheels. Seems too unstable. On the other hand, it would be ultra portable. My other concern with that particular model is that the base is not very wide. If you solder a horizontal pole on top so that you can hang the shiro pot filled with oil from it, I think it would be too top heavy. Even my shiro stand, if I swing the pot in the wrong direction, threatens to fall over, and it has a fairly wide base. If you try it I'd love to hear how it goes.

Building one out of wood might be more customizeable and just as cheap.

As far as the valve. The vessel shown in these pictures is not mine. It's the equipment of the Ayurvedic Institute. I do have a vessel with a valve. However, I don't like the valve and much prefer to not have a valve and soon I will be purchasing a valveless vessel. You never need to control the flow during the treatment, except to turn it on or off, and this can be easily done by placing your finger over the hole. The reason the valve is troublesome is because it can easily get clogged with oil or hair, impeding the flow, and also, it's just one size. If you get one without a valve, you can file out the hole to make it as large as you want, and I so far prefer to have a slightly bigger hole. With a small hole, the oil drains very slowly and can get cool up above.

All equipment can be purchased separately, or together as a package from Ajara Skincare. You can buy a vessel with or without a valve, both have chains from which to hang them. The general size for shirodhara vessels is 2.5 liters. A treatment tends to use about 2 quarts of oil, so this gives you plenty of room. They also sell the perfect burner. It is best to have a solid element burner, for ease of cleaning.

The drip pans basically need to be lightweight (because you need to be able to hold one, filled to the brim with oil, with one hand), easy to handle, and made of somewhat natural materials. Ayurveda frowns on teflon, but the enamel was apparently "natural" enough for the Ayurvedic institute to use. It was important that the pans have a low profile because when you switch them out you slide one beneath the other, as you can see from the link I gave to my website. It's also important that they have a lip for your fingers to grip, and a handle is preferable. I got my pans from Kittery Trading Post You need the 2 quart size. I hear they have the exact same ones at Kmart, but I don't have a Kmart near me so I purchased online.

There is no thermometer on the burner. You can put a thermometer in there if you want, but because you are switching the pots out so often, it's just another thing to be clanking around. I was taught to test the oil temperature with your fingers, by dipping them in the oil and waving them around.

Another essential piece of equipment is an incense stick holder. You place this in the drip pan below so that the oil falls on the incense holder and is silent, otherwise it makes a loud dripping noise which is disturbing.

Now I'm thinking I might make myself one out of wood! When I get a spare moment. ;)
Shiva
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Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 13, 2008 4:00 am

I hadn't thought about the unit tipping over. Couldn't the base be weighted somehow? A small lead weight could easily be hidden under the base. I wonder if the pole is small enough to slip a round weight lifting weight on?

I hadn't thought about the hole getting plugged up. I read something online that it was important to be able to adjust the stream of oil. Something about needing a thinner stream of oil for one of the doshas.

What about the pump?? I thought they would be more expencive than $30. It says it is quiet. How quiet is quiet?

What are you using to put under the clients head? It looks like a gallon zip lock bag. Have you ever tried anything else? That site seems to sell a copper head piece and a washable plastic piece. Have you ever used these?
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Postby shivashiva on Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:13 am

The unit tipping over is a pretty big concern when you are constructing your own stand. The issue is that you cannot put the base directly behind the client, because that is where your oil catching pan goes. So you need the base of the unit to be off to the side, and therefore the horizontal arm has to be maybe longer than you're imagining. A lifting weight might do the trick, I would probably use a couple.

The stream of the oil can be adjusted for the doshas, but they didn't do that at the Ayurvedic Institute under Dr. Lad's instruction. They would instead vary the herbal content of the oil to adjust for the doshas. The valve I have on my shiro pot isn't precise enough to allow me to change the size of the stream. It's either fully open, or when I partially close it the oil starts to drip. So it's either on or off for me. Maybe other valves are different.

I bought the pump she has and I prefer not to use it. My issues with it are: sometimes it doesn't turn on and I have to fiddle with it for a few moments (I had another one that stopped working all together which she replaced for me, very nice), and it pumps too quickly. In other words, it will pump the entire contents of the lower pot up into the shiropot and then start sucking air, which is noisy. (The pump noise itself is almost unnoticable when submerged in the oil) So I would have to be turning the pump on and off many times during the treatment. The pump doesn't have an on/off switch, so this would entail either unplugging it entirely, or putting it in a powerstrip that does have a switch, which was kind of a loud switch (snap! snap! snap!). I rigged up a series of connectors which decreased the size of the tube to try to slow the flow down, but even going down as small as I could, it still pumped too fast. Also, tempterature was an issue. The oil cooled off a lot during it's travel through the tubing (@4ft) and I had trouble regulating it effectively. Basically, once I found this method I am using now, I got rid of the pump right away. My method now is just very simple, with very little available to go wrong or make noise. But there were several people at my training at the institute who already used the pump and were very happy with it and did not want to switch to this method. It's all about what works for you.

I do use a gallon bag under their head. I have tried using the plastic piece, and I found it not very easy to use. The plastic piece was too long for me and got in the way of switching the pots out. I also was using her copper pots, which are too tall and were difficult to switch out. The plastic piece also required that you use a butterfly clip (office supplies!) to clip the two ends together to make a "funnel" and that was just another thing to fiddle with! The ziplock bag is small and is just big enough to divert the oil into one stream, which you need for silence. I do reuse the ziplock bag. I wash it every time. I'm sure it will wear out eventually. I also put a washcloth inside it to make it a bit softer. The copper piece looks wonderful, but expensive. I might one day get it, you never know. My only concern would be the client's head resting on a hard piece of metal. Not sure how comfortable that would be.

You will probably enjoy checking out Shiroplus. They have a really great set-up. It's expensive, but I received a treatment from someone using this equipment and it was really amazing and I checked it all out after the treatment was done and I was very impressed. The catch pot, heater, and pump are all integrated, and it comes with copper tubing that you can use to direct the oil. My therapist used the tubing to move the oil back and forth across my forehead, which was wonderful, and sometimes she just rested the tubing in it's sling and let it be still. Just looking at that may give you some inspiration and open your mind to how differently equipment can be made.

Here's another cool one The Shiro Pot. It's also expensive, but show's how they integrate the pump with the heater and everything. It also shows pictures of how that same head piece is used. When they place a towel under the head as shown I'm sure it would be quite comfortable. Be sure to click on "description" and "ordering" for the pics.
Shiva
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Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:10 pm

OMG! I love that shiropot! I so want one!! I would really have to market shirodhara for sure! I would be really mad if I couldn't at least pay for the equipment!
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Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:15 pm

Shiva,

Where do you get your oil from? Do you have a local source or do you order it and have it delivered? I don't live near one, but I would be willing to drive to a larger city and take a trip to an Indian grocery store to buy sesame oil. Do you think it would be less expensive that way? They probably could order it in gallons for me if they don't already carry it in gallons. I don't know for sure, but I suspect they would.
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Postby shivashiva on Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:26 pm

I get my oil from Banyan Botanicals. I doubt it would be cost effective for you to drive and get it, especially when banyan sells organic oils so cheap. You can easily get a wholesale account set up with them by calling and giving your practitioner info, and then the organic sesame costs $30/gal. Sunflower is the same, I think, and you can get many other ayurvedic things from them as well, if you ever had the interest. I like to get a small amount of brahmi oil or shirodhara oil and add an ounce or two to the sesame/sunflower mix, kind of for a homeopathic effect. Shipping usually costs me about $8 when I buy several gallons, but I am close to them. Not sure what your shipping would be.

I was really concerned when I bought my equipment that I wouldn't make enough to cover it. Also, to practice on people you have to spend probably $150 or more on oils. But of course I got some tips from those practice sessions which helped cover the oil. And then I quickly got people wanting the treatment. I think I made up what I spent w/in six months.

Then there's the problem of what to do with your waste oil. Can't put it in the garbage or down the drain. I'm still trying to figure that one out as my closet fills up with gallons of spent oil. Wish I had a car than ran on veg oil!
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Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 13, 2008 2:44 pm

Yeah! Waste oil!! I will have to think about that one for a while.

Apparently, the ShiroPot uses less oil than manually running the oil through the system. If less oil is used, a treatment will cost less. I am going to email them and find out how much oil is needed for a treatment. I found something on the site that says it uses less oil, and something else that says a half gallon is needed for shirodhara. That sounds like the same amount of oil for a hand poured unit.

The site is kind of confusing, don't you think? I have difficulty knowing what each set includes and if I need to purchase any more equipment.
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Postby peacenut on Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:14 pm

Shiva,

Do you use straight sesame oil or do you mix it with something else? Doesn't sesame oil have a rather strong odor that some people don't like?
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Postby EgoMagickian on Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:16 pm

Weird synchronicity: I just saw those poles (used for IV drips right?) at the stainless steel place in my neighborhood. Wondered who would buy them and what they would use them for. Now I know!
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Postby shivashiva on Sat Sep 13, 2008 7:53 pm

shivashiva wrote:A great tridoshic oil blend is 1/2 sesame and 1/2 sunflower. You could also use 100% grapeseed, but I have heard mixed reviews about that (byproduct of the wine industry, thus lots of pesticides and impurities. but easy to wash out!)



posted earlier.

The organic sesame seems to have a delicate, sweet, sesame smell. I usually ask my clients first if the smell is okay with them. If they have any aversion, I use grapeseed.
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Postby peacenut on Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:35 am

We primarily use jojoba in my practice. At $55 a gallon though, it's pricy to be using in large quantities and then throwing away. I also use biotone's body butter, but 99% of the time it we are using jojoba.

Anything else makes my sheets eventually smell rancid. And I abhore that odor over just about anything else.

Have you ever had an accident and spilled shirodhara oil? :shock:
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Postby shivashiva on Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:44 am

peacenut wrote: it's pricy to be using in large quantities and then throwing away.


You're not really "just throwing it away," in my opinion. You need that much oil for the treatment and you are using it for a shirodhara treatment. You can give your clients the oil to take home, or if they are regulars you can keep it to use on their body, or for another shiro. You can use the same oil several times for the same person.

I can't think of anyone who likes rancid smelling sheets, but if you are going to be giving authentic Ayurvedic treatments, you're going to have to make peace with them -- by learning how not to produce them. I use sesame and sunflower oils on my 100% cotton sheets and a special mix in the laundry and my sheets never smell rancid. But sometimes the towels do and then I just throw them away. No doubt about it, it's more expensive to give ayurvedic treatments. Just charge appropriately for them.

If you want to use jojoba, add $25 onto the price of your treatment. For awhile I was using some organic shirodhara blend that was $80/gal. Just price your treatment accordingly.

A huge oil spill is pretty much inevitable at some point when you do shirodhara. I bought a large sheet of fabric-backed vinyl and place that on the ground beneath the work area. I also buy those little multi-colored woven rug things from walmart for 2 bucks. They are thick and when they get too messy I can just throw away.

Also, you have to be careful not to let your oily linens sit around for too long. Washing immediately is key to keeping them from going rancid, and also to prevent self-combustion, which is a real danger when you are a spa/clinic doing treatments with large amounts of oil. There is a thread around here somewhere about it.
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Postby shivashiva on Mon Oct 13, 2008 4:34 pm

A little update, a few new pieces of info. I just got a valve-less shiro pot in the hopes of having a more constant, reliable and steady stream of oil. The hole it came with was extremely small, so my husband drilled it out some, and I think we will drill it out even a bit more. I plan on trying the "cotton string" method, where you hang a cotton string out of the hole several inches. This helps the stream be more solid, and it also catches any stray hairs that might get poured through the oil.

In hopes of getting some inspiration about the string method, I watched the Real Bodwyork video "Ayurvedic Facial Massage and Shirodhara" and in the video they use the exact same medical equipment in the picture peacenut posted above. And it has a horizontal arm that is not soldered, it looks like a piece of equipment you can buy to go with it. So I guess some people do use them. In my opinion, it looked shaky. But apparently it has been used to good effect! :)

I will update again when I've used the cotton string.
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Big hole in a valveless shirodhara pot is good

Postby shivashiva on Sat Oct 18, 2008 2:50 pm

Okay, I tried the string and it didn't work I'm pretty sure because the hole was still not big enough. We drilled it out using the 7/64 size drill bit (I was very nervous about drilling too big. It's copper and you can't go back! I would rather drill bigger bit by bit and try giving a treatment with it each time), and when I pulled the string through and poured the oil in, it just dripped slowly off the cotton string. Since I had already poured the oil, and my guinea pig client was all ready to go, on on the table and halfway through the treatment, I just took the string out and tried it with the bigger hole, and also sans valve.

It was WONDERFUL! The stream was thick, and steady, and full with no sputtering or catching AT ALL. Of course, the oil was flowing a lot faster, too. So I had to pour the oil from below to above probably twice as many times (about every 3-4 minutes), and I also had a little more trouble getting the oil falling from the ziplock bag to be silent as it was caught in the pot below. But once I got all that figured out, the treatment went very smoothly and I felt confident that it was feeling good for my client.

I believe the faster flow helped the temperture stay more constant as well. The oil was not sitting up top very long, but constantly being heated up and replenished.
Shiva
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Postby snailshells on Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:13 am

Shiva, you've definitely piqued my interest. Reading this thread, I am now dying to get this done! It looks like it would feel absolutely beautiful. Must research good places in NYC...
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Re: shirodhara

Postby edentosch on Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:04 am

Shirodhara is meant to be done on consecutive days-- it won't have much long term effect (and it can!) if it is used as a one-off treatment. this takes care of the Oil issue -- just reuse the oil and send it home with them so they can do self-abhyunga. And everyone who needs shiro needs to be doing abhyunga.

I suggest to clients that they get at least a 3 day series. First day 15-20 min and building up by 5 min to a max of 50min over a week of sessions. I realize this is not always possible for clients but if you have folks with a real vata problem and the interest in healing it is worth getting them to do it.

Not sure about the Jojoba idea-- it is certainly not traditional and I have no idea what the energetics of Jojoba are (any one know?) remember we want soothing, cooling, heavy but absorbable. That is why sesame is almost always the base (or try milk boiled with herbs!).

Also traditional is cotton balls with rose water on the eyes to keep them cool (and the client inner focused).

(this bit cross posted form other ayurveda disc)
I am an american-trained classical Ayurveda practitioner-- 3+ yrs of training and as many in practice now.

If you are looking to study and become a practitioner on the consultant level (as opposed to doign a few treatments in a spa setting) I recommend Shubham Ayurveda [url]classicalayurvedaclassroom.com[/url] in Fremont CA.

If you are just wanting to add some chops (via an affordable online course) do this one (very deep education for non-ayurveda practitioners) http://www.classicalayurvedaclassroom.com/#!ONLINE%20COURSES:%20Cancer,%20Diabetes%20.../c1t78

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Re: shirodhara

Postby peacenut on Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:13 pm

Jojoba is currently way to expensive because of the shortage. I have switched to fractionated coconut oil for my massage sessions.

Would FCO be a good choice for shirodhara?

And what is abhyunga?
I'd let you watch, I would invite you, but the queens we use would not excite you.
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Re: shirodhara

Postby JLWmassage on Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:06 am

I just had a person and call and ask to book one of these treatments. Which is a services I have never offered. So I gave them the name of a person that I know that does them and where to go. And the women says "I already know her and I was told she was she was at your place" and the tone of the women's voice was very strange.

So I ask my friend if this person called to book with her and I told her who it was, well is turns out she is apart of the Maharishi movement and she was checking up on me making sure if I wasn't doing their Ayurveda treatments. And if I was offering their treatment she was going to turn me in for not paying royalties.
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