Shirovasti is considered more of a palliative (Shamana) treatment that an eliminative (Shodhana) one. The treatment is usually preceded by oleation (Sheehan) and sudation (Swedana). In Shirovasti, a leather sleeve six to eight inches high is fastened with a varti (headband) to the head of the patient. The inside of the sleeve is lined with kneaded dough so that the oil does not leak. The patient is asked to sit in an upright position and oil is poured into this sleeve & allowed to remain on the head for a while. The length of time the oil should be kept there is determined by the severity of the disease. Usually it is up to fifty minutes for diseases caused by severe Vata disorders.
This treatment is prescribed for disorders like facial paralysis, cataract, deafness, earache, insomnia and other diseases that afflict the cranial nerves.