The Sweating Therapy is also known by other names such as ‘Sudation’, ‘Fomentation’, or, ‘Swedana Kriya’.
It is of four types: Fomentation, Warm Poultice, Steaming & Pouring of warm liquid/s.
Benefits: Pacifies V and K. By application of fomentation, Prior Unction having been done, V is won over and thus faeces, urine and semen are never obstructed. Oil & Heat properly applied, would bend even a dry log of wood.
Fomentation is done by touching the body with ‘A Heated Cloth’, ‘Metal Plate’, ‘Palm of our hand’ etc.
Fomentation Therapy, for treatment of Vata-Kapha Doshas:
- V-K Unctuous-Rough Fomentation.
- V Unctuous Fomentation.
- K Rough Fomentation.
- V in stomach (Amasaya) Fomentation followed by rough measures.
- K in colon (Pakwasaya) Fomentation followed by unctuous measures.
Indications for fomentation:
Especially useful for Vata, Kapha & AMA. In coryza, cough, hiccup, dyspnoea, non-lightness, pain in ear, back neck and head, hoarseness of voice, choked throat, paralysis of face, one limb, whole or half of body, bending of body, hardness of bowels and constipation, suppression of urine, excessive yawning, stiffness in sides, back, waist and abdomen, sciatica, dysuria, enlargement of scrotum, body-ache, pain and stiffness in feet, knees, thighs and shanks, swelling, contracture, cold, shivering, heaviness and numbness in organs and general disorders.
Sweating should be done on a person, who has undergone Oleation (massage) internally and externally, who is staying in a place devoid of breeze, and empty stomach or after the food has been digested. The therapy may be mild, moderate or strong depending on the disease, state of doshas, strength of patient, his habitat and the present season.
Persons suffering from Kapha should be made to sweat in dry condition/s, without fats being used internally or externally, and with liquid/s with no fats added.
Contra-indications for fomentation (Unsuitable For):
Habitual users of medicinal extracts and wine, Pregnant- Menstruating Ladies or who have delivered recently, Those Afflicted with Internal Haemorrhage, High Pitta cases-Diarrhoea, Rough Persons, Diabetics, Burn Cases, Prolapse-Inguinal Hernia, Poison-Alcohol complications, Fatigue, Unconscious, Thirsty, Hungry, Angry-Aggrieved-Grief-Fear, Jaundice, Abdominal Enlargement, Injury-Vatarakta, Weak, Emaciated, Diminished Ojas.
Sweating/Fomentation should be very mild in Groins, Eyes, Scrotum and Heart or not at all. Sweating/Fomentation should be avoided for Very Obese, Dry, Weak, or Unconsciousness, Blindness, herpes, leprosy (or other skin diseases), TB, Gout. Avoided for ones who have just consumed curd, milk, fats & honey; have undergone purgation, suffering from prolapse or burning of abdomen. Also avoided in persons who are in excess hunger, thirst or have anaemia.
Though, in the contra-indication cases, as mentioned above, in emergency situation, mild sweating may be done.
Body Parts not to be fomented:
Testicles, heart, eyes- should not be fomented, or if necessary, should be mildly fomented. Groins should be fomented with medium type of fomentation. The remaining body parts should be fomented as necessary.
Protection of Eyes and Heart during Fomentation:
During fomentation, the eyes should be covered with clean cloth or circular pieces of moistened wheat flour or flowers of lotus, water lily etc. Similarly, the “cordial region” [the heart region] of the person being fomented should be touched with cool pearl necklaces, cool utensils, lotus flowers or hand wet with water.
Stop fomentation when cold and pain subside, stiffness and heaviness are controlled and softness and sweating are produced.
It is application of Poultice prepared from Vacha, Mustard seeds etc., any grain/substances having pleasant smell, Roots of Arandi; or Meat. Each one should be added with more of salt/s, Fat/s, Vinegar, Butter-Milk and Milk, in case Vata is vitiated.
After applying Poultice, cover the body parts which have been Uncted, with silk or woollen clothing. Poultice/s applied during day should be removed during night and vice versa.
Steam may be taken by boiling grains, pulses, seeds in water, allowing that steam to pass over the body.
Warm water may be prepared by mixing herbs appropriate to the Doshas. This water may be slowly poured on the painful part covered with cloth. In case of Vata affecting the whole body, such a water may be filled up in a tub, and patient may be told to sit in that (especially for piles, dysuria and other painful diseases).
Inducing sweating in the body without the use of Heat/Warm Poultice etc: (Especially Kapha covering Vata), Physical Exertion, wearing thick clothes/blankets, heavy drinking of wine, hunger & Sunlight.
Benefits of Sweating:
One gets diminishing of cold, relief from pain and softness of organs from sweating. Doshas lubricated by Oleation therapy, residing in alimentary canal, tissues, bones, or the outer layers of the skin, are (after being liquefied by the Oleation therapy) brought to the GI Tract, and thence eliminated appropriately. So, after the food has been digested, intake 2-3 big spoons of Ghee, Induce Sweating, and much toxins will flow out of the system. After the person has sweat, he should be slowly massaged, given a warm water bath and allowed comforts.
Effects/Precautions of excess sweating:
Aggravation of Pitta & Blood (fever), Thirst, Loss of Consciousness, Weakness of Voice & Body, Giddiness, Joint Pains, Appearance of black (blue) patches on the skin and vomiting. For handling this, Sthambhana Therapy, withholding any elimination, is to be practiced. Same is to be done for poison/s in the body, caustic alkali, fire burns, diarrhoea, vomiting & Unconsciousness.
Generally, substances which are heavy, penetrating and with hot potency produce sweating, while the opposites do the work of withholding. Now, drugs which are liquid, Sthira, mobile, unctuous, dry & penetrating are sweat producing; and, the ones which are smooth, dry, mobile, liquid, bitter, astringent and sweet in taste do the work of withholding.
Excess Sthambhana may lead to contraction of skin & tendons, tremors, stiffness in the heart region, choking of voice, lockjaw, black discolouration of feet, lips, skin & hands etc.