Definition - What does Svedhana mean?
Svedhana is an Ayurvedic therapy, in which steam is used to remove ama (toxins) from the body. It is the third step in Ayurveda's Panchakarma, a five-step cleanse to detoxify and purify the body. Svedhana is balancing for all three doshas, and can help to remove unresolved emotions from the deep tissues. It can also help to stimulate Agni (digestive fire) and ease the symptoms of respiratory conditions.
Yogapedia explains Svedhana
Sanskrit for 'sweat,' Svedhana treatments use steam and humidity to encourage the body to perspire freely, thereby releasing toxins through the sweat glands. Generally, this process occurs in a specialized steam cabinet, in which the head can remain outside, allowing the body to absorb heat for longer.
Svedhana is often performed after treatments in which oil is applied to the body, such as Snehana. These two treatments combined make up the primary stage of Panchakarma known as Purva Karma, a vital preliminary step before other cleansing practices ,such as Basti (enema using medicated oil) and Rakta Moksha (bloodletting to purify the blood).
The length and method of Svedhana therapy used will depend on an individual's dosha. For example, Vata would indicate a shorter session, as this type tends to be dry. Since Pitta is already hot, a lower temperature would be used. Kapha types can withstand the highest temperatures and longest sessions, due to their cold and liquid nature. The treatment is followed by a cooling down period and a shower, in order to remove any excreted toxins.
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