A bindi is much more than a fashion statement or a sign of tradition and religion. This cultural practice actually has a number of health benefits!
These benefits stem from the fact that the bindi is worn at the point in between the two eyebrows. This point has tremendous significance in the ancient healing arts.
Significance in yoga
According to yoga, this point is known as the ‘ajna chakra’ or ‘agya chakra.’ It is the sixth and most powerful chakra in the human body and it encompasses the head, eyes, brain, pineal gland and pituitary gland.
This chakra plays a major role in yogic meditation; many meditation techniques require you to focus on this point. The pranayama technique of Brahmari, meaning bee breath, is focused solely on opening up this chakra. Several yoga poses, including Balasana (Child’s Pose) and Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose), involve touching your forehead to the ground in order to stimulate this chakra. Lord Shiva’s third eye is also located at this point, and it is believed to be the centre of knowledge, intuition, awakening and awareness.
Significance in acupressure
Apart from yoga, the ancient Chinese practice of acupressure also places great stock in this point. According to acupressure, this point is known as The Third Eye (GV24.5) and pressing it for a few seconds every day is believed to have a number of health benefits.
Ladies, you’ve probably noticed that it takes you that long to put on your bindi – you place it, adjust it a little and then press it down firmly to make sure it stays in place. Even if you don’t wear it exactly between your eyebrows and place it a little higher instead, it still has the same health benefits.
These are the health benefits of wearing a bindi.
1. Relieves headaches.
According to acupressure, pressing this point for a few seconds can relieve a headache almost instantly, because a number of key nerves and blood vessels converge at this point.
2. Clears up your sinuses.
The trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for sensation in the entire face, passes through this area. This nerve is the largest of the cranial nerves and it has three branches, as you can probably tell from the name. Stimulating this nerve helps reduce the swelling and congestion in your sinuses.
3. Improves vision and eye health.
The supratrochlear nerve also passes through this area. This nerve is a branch of the frontal nerve, which in turn is a branch of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve. It is connected to all the muscles around the eyes, so stimulating this nerve is believed to improve vision and eye health.
4. Keeps your skin young.
The trigeminal nerve’s branches cover pretty much your entire face. Stimulating this nerve helps keep your skin young and your facial muscles strong.
5. Prevents depression.
The trigeminal nerve is such a key nerve that the medical community is now researching ways to stimulate this nerve with very low intensity electrical shocks in order to treat depression, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By pressing this nerve for a few seconds every day, you can prevent these conditions in the first place!
6. Improves hearing.
One of the nerves passing through this area also stimulates your cochlear, which is a part of the inner ear that is key to hearing.
7. Relieves stress, eye strain, fatigue and insomnia.
You’ve probably noticed that when you’re stressed out, your eyebrows and forehead get bunched up and become very tense. This region bears the brunt of your stress, so relaxing it can relieve stress to a great extent. Balasana (Child’s Pose) is considered to be one of the most relaxing yoga poses because it stimulates this area. Acupressure also advocates stimulating this area to relieve stress, fatigue and eye strain.
It is believed that stimulating this point relaxes the face and body to the extent that it prevents insomnia and promotes restful sleep. This point is also very closely linked to the pineal gland, a tiny pea-sized gland in the brain that produces the hormones serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone, whereas serotonin is one of the hormones related to happiness.
8. Boosts memory and concentration.
According to both yoga and acupressure, stimulating this point boosts memory and concentration.
9. Improves intuition and awareness.
According to pranayama, this chakra is linked to intuition, creativity, spiritual awareness, visualisation, wisdom, intellect and understanding.