Swedana is derived from Sanskrit word which means to perspire. It is also called as steam therapy. It is a pre-procedure for panchakarma therapies where the aim is to dilate the channels of the body to detach the toxins from the tissues.
Swedana helps in detoxification and reestablishing the balance between Vata, Pitta, and Kapha in the body. The sweat glands are one of the sources that eliminate toxins from the body. The thousands of sweat glands, when stimulated can help in mobilizing the toxins in the inner layers of the skin and muscles, getting rid of them.
Many of us associate swedana with the steam box, the closed box that most of us have used as the last step of a body massage. But you can classify this treatment modality into many types based on the duration, the specific part or the whole body, the intensity, and the source of sweating. Yoga or exercises that cause sweating is classified as swedana in Ayurveda. But steam is the most common source of sweating in Ayurveda.
First, oil is applied over the body. Herbs depending upon the condition of the person and predominance of the dosha are selected and are kept in a vessel for the generation of the steam. While giving steam, the head and eyes of the patient are covered using wet cotton pads in order to protect them from over heat.
Treatment is continued till the abdomen and forehead sweat very well which is usually attained within 15-20 minutes. In this form of treatment, a herbal infusion induces steam. Patients sit inside a wooden box, surrounded by this steam. They start sweating extensively and through this sweat the toxins of the body are eliminated. This process is also shown to stimulate circulation. The comfort of patients during this process is of primary importance since the temperature in the steam box is quite high. So if patients are sensitive to high temperature, then they will require close attention.
- Purifies tissue and eliminates toxins from the body
- Helps in detoxifying the kidneys, liver and respiratory system
- Improves blood circulation
- Relieves stiffness
- Improves digestion
- Removes blockage of channels or srotas
- Reduces water retention
- Reduces excess weight gain
- Low backache
- Sciatica pain
- Asthma or difficulty in breathing
- Chronic constipation
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