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The most healthy and effective way for you to sweat is through Swedana or steaming. It is as important to sweat in winter as it is to eat, drink or breathe for our health. Our body produces sweat to detox, releasing toxins through the pores of our skin. Besides cleansing the body, detoxification can lead to healthier, clearer skin. Sweating also indicates that you are burning calories, critical for weight loss.
But in winter we tend to sweat less, which may lead to dehydration, blocked pores and many other health conditions. We need to induce sweat in winter by exercising, wearing warm clothes, or eating heavy food. But the most healthy and effective way for you to sweat is through Swedana or steaming.
Swedana is the second major aspect of the purvakarm, one of the five Panchakarma treatments.
Swedana's benefits are many: it removes both toxins and stress, gives you glowing skin, and helps you lose weight. Swedana also loosens stiff joints and increases circulation.
According to Ayurveda, there are variations of Swedana you can easily do at home.
Nadi, uses steam from a herbal water decoction. If you want to try this at home, take a pressure cooker, attach a gas pipe to the hose and add either dashmool or 100 grams of mixed turmeric powder, ginger powder, camphor and cinnamon to 1 kilo of water.
Apply the steam released to the surface of your body for 5 to 7 minutes. The steam will remove stagnation, drive out waste products and neutralize the cold qualities of vata in your muscles and joints, which reduces rigidity in localized areas. Apply the steam off and on your body parts so you don't burn them.
Valuka Swedana, a dry heating process using a hot sand bag to alleviate pain and swelling, begins by preparing a potli with 100 gms of sand and a thin piece of cloth. First massage the affected area with warm oil for 5-7 minutes. Then warm the potli in a pan full of sand. Apply the hot potli to the affected area for 7 to 10 minutes. It will liquify the accumulated ama and relax the affected area. Warm up the potli before every use, checking its temperature on your palm.
Patra Potli Swedana is an ideal way to relieve joint pain.. Take finely chopped leaves of ark (calatropis- 200 gms), ashwagandha (200 gms), basil (200 gms) and mustard (50 grams) and mix with lemon (200 grams), fenugreek (200 grams) and coconut (220 grams). Fry the mixture in sesame oil, then make a potli of it with a think piece of cloth. Heat a small quantity of medicated oil over low heat. Massage the afflicted part for 5 to 7 minutes with medicated oils. Dip the potli in the heated oil, first check the temperature of the potli by placing it on your palm, and massage on the affected areas for 7 to 10 minutes. This therapy strengthens the dhatus and increases blood circulation. It also provides color to your skin, induces good sleep and reduces stress.
Although Swedana is a good way to release toxins and stress, if you are pregnant or have heart conditions and blood disorders you may be at risk if you try it. If you are otherwise fairly healthy and do not have an underlying condition, try Swedana for a refreshing and healthy mind and body.
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