Definition - What does Swedana mean?
A common Ayurvedic practice, swedana is a form of therapy that uses herbal steam to release toxins from the body through the skin. From Sanskrit, sweda (or swid) means “perspiration" or "sweat”; and during this therapy, sweat is released through the pores in the skin which release ama, or "toxins," that are rooted deep in the body.
This therapy is thought to relieve muscular tension, restore flexibility, clear energy passages, detoxify the body, and help with muscular inflammation, hypertension, blood pressure and circulation.
Yogapedia explains Swedana
There are two types of swedana that are used as part of holistic Ayurvedic therapy: bashpa swedana, which is a full body steam bath; and nadi swedana that is a localized to one specific region or regions of the body. The herbal concoction of the steam can vary depending on what ailment needs to be treated or upon the doshic characteristics of the person being treated and the condition of the skin or body.
The bashpa swedana is most effective when practiced after a full body oil massage because the skin is primed with oil and is more susceptible to absorbing the herbs in the steam. The treatment can be performed either sitting or lying down, and a wet covering should be used around the head and eyes for protection. The person sits in a chamber or room that is filled with the herbed steam until the body is sweating nicely and a warm shower should follow the treatment. The nadi swedana is when steam is put into a tube and then focused on stiff joints or along energy channels to clear pathways and/or reduce inflammation.
These treatments can alleviate painful joints from arthritis or neuromuscular disorders, sciatica and other back pains, cough and asthmatic conditions, allergies and abdominal blockages. Swedana also balances the kapha and vata doshas in the body, can help acne or skin conditions, relieve stress or tension in the body, and even act as an aid in weight loss.