Swedana-Sweating Therapy is also known by quite a few other names such as ‘Sudation’, ‘Fomentation’, or, ‘Swedana Kriya’. The Swedana (Preferably preceded by Proper Internal & External [Abhyanga-Full Body massage] Oleation) simply implies inducing sweat in the body using steam and/or appropriate herbs. The Kriya (Swedana-Sweating therapy) may only be done empty stomach or after the food has been digested.
Generally, substances which are Fluid-Liquid, Heavy, Mobile, Unctuous, Penetrating and have Hot Potency produce Sweating, while the opposites do the work of Withholding-Sthambhana (Such as the ones which are Smooth, Dry, Mobile, Liquid, Bitter, Astringent and Sweet in taste as all these, in excess, lead to constriction of Body Channels).
Indications (& Benefits): The Swedana invariable benefits whole of the body but is specially indicated for Vata & Kapha related disorders. It increase blood circulation throughout the body, softens body tissues-organs, expels the toxins out of the body through the skin pores thereby clearing the excretory channels (such as for urine, faeces or semen) and reduces body aches/inflammation.
What actually happens with ‘Swedana-Sweating Therapy’: Body (Vitiated) Doshas get lubricated by ‘The Oleation Therapy, are brought to the GI Tract from where they are expelled from the body. The best (and effective in expelling toxins out of the body) course of action is to take 1-2 Tsp. A2-Desi Cow Ghee in ½-1 Glass of Hot-Boiled water (+ 2-5 Pinches of hand ground Black Pepper), after the food has been digested or 2-3 hours after meals, followed by Swedana-Induced Sweating Therapy. After the sweating is done, mild massage followed by lukewarm water bath is advised.
The Swedana has positive results on many disorders such as for Chronic Abdominal Disorders (Chronic Constipation), Respiratory System Disorders (Dyspnoea-Shortness of Breath, Coryza-Nasal Mucous Inflammation, Sinusitis, Asthma), Bones-Joints related Disorders (Lower Back Ache, Arthritis-Osteoarthritis…), Neural Disorders (Such as Sciatica, Hemiplegia [One side paralysis of the body], General Stress, Parkinson’s or Other Motor Neuron Disorders), Genito-Urinary System Disorders (Enlargement of Scrotum…)…
Classification/Types of Swedana-Sweating Therapy:
- Using Heat or Fire (Sa-Agni Sweda) such as ‘Patient is made to sit in a Steam Chamber’, ‘Getting the steam formed by boiling grains-pulses-seeds etc. in water to pass over the body’, ‘Using warm-hot poultice’, ‘Pouring of warm-hot oils and/or warm-decoction prepared with appropriate herbs over the painful parts depending on which Dosha is vitiated’, ‘using heated metal plate/s’… Some more on use of Hot Poultice…
- Inducing Sweat with Hot Poultice: Such a hot poultice could be prepared from Vacha, Mustard or Sesame Seeds etc., Black Gram, Horse Gram, Grains, Castor Root and so on. “Salt/s, Vinegar” and/or “Fats, Butter-Milk & Milk” may be added to the poultice depending on weather Kapha or Vata is vitiated. For Kapha Vitiated cases, Desi Cow-A2 Fung may also be used (and could also be very effective as a Poultice) and
- Not using Heat or Fire (Nir-Agni Sweda) such as Mixed Fomentation (Samkara Sweda, where different Dravyas-Oils/Barks… are mixed together and applied-massaged directly or applied via poultice (no heat involved) onto the painful parts). Especially with Kapha covering Vata disorders, sweating is or could be induced with Physical Exertion, wearing thick-woollen clothing, exposure to heavy hunger or exposure to heavy sunlight and so on…
- From academic point of view, the scriptures state quite a few types of Swedana-Fomentation, but from practical point of view, what is stated is enough to induce required sweating in the body (kping appropriate precautions in view) and eliminate AMA from the body.
Yet another Classification/s of Swedana-Sweating Therapy:
This depends on with what force the oil/Dravyas are applied such as Mahan (Excessive force-deep massage), Madhyam (Medium force) or Mrdu (Light-minimal force) and/or as per unctuousness involved such as it could be Snigdha (Oily-for Vata Disorders), Snigdha-Ruksha (Oily & Dry Substances used-Vata-Kapha Disorders) or Ruksha (Dry-Kapha Disorders).
- Best Avoided for High Vata Vitiated Cases (Such as the ones habituated to heavy drinking-alcohol complications, Poisoned-Unconscious subjects, rough persons, ones afflicted with heavy thirst or hunger and/or the ones afflicted with grief-anger-fear…), High Pitta Vitiated Cases (Such as Internal Bleeding-Haemorrhage, Diarrhoea, Haemorrhoids, Jaundice, Burn Cases, Prolapse-Inguinal Hernia…), High Kapha Vitiated Cases (Such as Chronic High Blood Sugar-Diabetes…) and/or otherwise complicated cases/conditions such as Pregnant-Menstruating ladies or the ones who have recently delivered and/or such cases where more than a single Dosha might be heavily Vitiated such as the ones suffering from Prolapse, Abdominal Burning-Distention, Herpes, Leprosy, Fatigue, Wound-Injury (Vata-Raqta) or Anaemia Cases and/or Emaciated-Diminished Ojas and so on… The therapy is also best avoided for subjects who have just undergone Purgation…
- Only mild (or no) Fomentation or Induced Sweating may be done in areas such as Eyes, Heart, Groins, Testicles, Scrotum and so on…
- The Therapy is best avoided for people who have just who have just consumed Fats, Milk, Curd or Honey.
- The Therapy is Best Stopped as the coldness or pain in the body subsides, stiffness & heaviness in the body is controlled and softness may be felt in body parts/organs.
- Few ill Effects of Excess Swedana-Sweating Therapy: 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.
- Antidote to Excess Swedana-Sweating Therapy: Sthambhana or withholding any elimination Therapy. Incidentally, same is applicable for cases such as Body Poisoning, Caustic Alkali or even Fire Burns or cases with Severely Multi Vitiated Doshas such as Unconsciousness.
- Finally, 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.
The above information is not a Medico-Legal advice. The information above is not intended to diagnose-treat-cure… any disease and you may use the above information at any/which way at your own risk and with own responsibility.