The word Swedana is derived from the Sanskrit word, meaning to sweat or perspire. Swedana Karma is a group of procedures used to induce sweating. Swedana helps in relieving stiffness, cold, heaviness in the body and produces sweat. Swedana also refers to internal excreta of the body.
According to Ayurveda, Swedana Karma is instrumental in helping to liquefy the sticky and adherent doshas that have lodged in the peripheral tissues. Swedana will help soften and melt the toxins, opens up the pores of skin and help in expelling them from the body in an efficient manner.
In the Swedana Therapy, sweat is produced with or without use of fire. Fomentation therapy is either applied to entire body or to a particular area. It is classified into wet or dry fomentation, with the intensity of fomentation being mild, moderate or strong.
Methods of Swedana Therapy:
Sankara Application – It includes application of hot herbal bolus to a clothed or unclothed patient. The bolus is used for fomenting or massaging the body. After several rounds of bolus, the cloth is unwrapped and the paste is rubbed all over. The process ends with a warm water bath, followed by rest at room temperature.
Prasthara – The patient is made to lie on a bed of leaves of Ricinus Communis, and corn, Calotropis gigantean, pulse, ginger, pippali, maricha, ghee, paayasa and krushara are also added. The patient is covered with silk or wool blankets.
Nadi – Nadi or medicated steam is directed through a hose or tube (nadi) to the entire body or to specific areas of the body.
Parisheka – In Parisheka procedure, hot herbal decoction is showered over the body from a pitcher, pot or pipe with several holes on it.
Jentaaka – The patient will be seated in a circular room near a pond or small lake, which has an oven burning special herbs to heat it.
Some other methods of Swedana Therapy without use of fire are:
Vyaayaama(exercise), Ushnasadana (being inside a warm chamber), Gurupraavarnam (wearing of heavy clothing), Aataapa (exposure to sun).
Steam Chamber treatment – This is a popular mode of treatment in Swedana therapy. Full body steam cabinet is used and is done using aroma oils based on individual needs.
Some plants like ginger root, punarnava, castor root, sesame, barley, black gram, kulattha, jujube, black gram and drumstick plant that encourage easy sweating of the body are used in Swedhana Therapy.
Benefits of Swedhana Therapy
Swedhana Therapy has several benefits as it purifies tissue and eliminates toxins, helps in detoxifying the kidneys, liver and respiratory system, and improves circulation, relieves stiffness, improves digestion, and removes blockage of strotas if any.
Swedhana can also remove excess body heat, clears the channels of the body to improve circulation, helps in easy breathing, reduces water retention, and excess weight can easily be reduced using this therapy.
Note: Swedhana Therapies are not given to pregnant women, people with bleeding disorders, alcoholics, people who are very thin or fat, people with diarrhea, anaemia, jaundice, dizziness, fever and other such ailments.