Ayurvedic Steam Bath is One of the therapeutic practices that Ayurveda recommends.
This rejuvenating treatment has been used for centuries to cleanse the body, relax the mind, and promote overall well-being.
In this article, we will explore what Ayurvedic steam baths are, their benefits, and how you can incorporate them into your self-care routine.
What is an Ayurvedic Steam Bath?
Ayurvedic steam bath, also known as Swedana, is a traditional Ayurvedic therapy that involves exposing the body to steam infused with medicinal herbs.
The steam bath is usually taken in a specially designed steam chamber or box.
The herbs used in the steam bath vary according to individual dosha (body constitution) and specific health conditions.
The purpose of the steam bath is to induce sweating, dilate the pores, and eliminate toxins from the body.
Diffrence between Sauna and Ayurvedic Steam Bath
Not unlike a sauna, which induces sweating, but with entirely different atmospheric conditions, the steam bath not only helps in relaxing and renewing energy but also promotes health and beauty as well.
It is operated most effectively at temperatures of between 43°C (110°F) and 46°C (116°F) and a relative humidity above 100%.
In a steam bath, steam (or, to be more scientifically correct, MIST) should be permanently present.
This requires an efficient steam generator, a precise control system, and a steam-tight cabin to prevent steam from escaping and damaging the fabric of the surrounding room.
Scientific facts about Herbal Steam bath
Scientific Research Between 1983 and 1986, at the University of Munich’s Institute of Medical Balneology and Climatology, a comprehensive series of comparative tests were conducted to determine the effects of the Sauna, steam bath, and whirlpool bath on the human body in view of a considerable uncertainty which had previously surrounded the steam bath.
Steam baths should not be recommended or prescribed to clients with known cardiac pathology.
Steam baths are recommended wherever generalized moist heat applications are indicated.
Physical agents act directly with a physical effect; that is, radiant energy becomes heat when absorbed by living cells.
Physical agents may, in addition, indirectly influence the autonomic and endocrine systems as well as the electrolyte balance; the biological response to the “push” of physical stimulation of the vegetative hormonal system is an adaptive reaction to stress, which involves the adrenal cortex and increases blood steroids.
In fact, the interrelationship between adrenal and blood steroids may be an important factor in the hit-and-miss success of this form of hydrotherapy.
If so, the intensity (or dose) of physical stimulation will determine the “stress” of this hydrotherapy program.
Aim of Ayurvedic Steam Bath
The primary aim of Ayurvedic steam bath is to balance the doshas and promote the flow of energy in the body.
According to Ayurveda, imbalances in the doshas lead to various health issues.
The steam bath helps in pacifying the aggravated doshas and restoring their balance.
It also promotes relaxation, improves circulation, and enhances the body’s natural detoxification process.
The body tries to increase its heat loss through all possible avenues-especially the skin and lungs.
If the environmental temperature exceeds that of the body, the only way to lose heat is through sweating.
The body cannot maintain a constant temperature when the environmental temperature is as high as that reached in a steam bath or Sauna.
So, the body temperature begins to rise.
As the cutaneous circulation increases, heat is accepted more readily by the body from the environment.
Reduced skin circulation would reduce the rise of body temperature, but this is not possible.
The rise in body temperature depends mainly on
- The temperature and humidity content of the steam bath
- The sweating capability of the bather
- The bathing time
Body temperatures have been found to range from 37.6°C (99.6°F) to 40°C (104°F).
Thus, the physiologic changes that occur during the bath are due in part to the rise in body temperature and in part to the influence of the reflexes of the hormonal and nervous systems, which attempt to increase heat loss.
The research results revealed that, given the correct choice of temperature and duration, a steam bath produces the same thermal effect on the body as a sauna and is equally beneficial.
Ayurvedic Perspective of Steam Bath
In Ayurveda, steam baths are considered an important part of Panchakarma, the detoxification and rejuvenation therapy.
Ayurvedic texts describe steam baths as a way to purify the body, mind, and spirit.
The steam opens up the channels of the body and allows the herbs to penetrate deeply, facilitating the removal of toxins and impurities.
It is believed that steam baths also have a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity.
Ayurvedic Sveda Karma has four major actions over the body:
Stambha means stiffness.
This attribute is a result of excess Sheeta Guna and also the influence of factors such as Samanavata, Sleshakakapha, Mamsa, and Medas.
All the above factors contribute to the production of Stambha. Samanavata is Ruksha Gunapradhana, and hence, if vitiated, does excessive Shoshana of Shareera, thereby producing contractures and stiffness.
Sleshakakapha is Snigdha and Pichila, and hence, if decreased, results in less lubrication of joints, causing stiffness.
Svedakarma is Snigdha and Ushna, and it corrects both these deranged Dosha Ghataka and relieves stiffness.
Acharya Chakrapani has stated that Stambha also means obstruction or block.
Therefore, Svedana not only relieves stiffness but also clears blockage of passages (Srotorodha).
Srotas as a structural entity is Kaphapradhana. Ayana or transport is the most important function of Srotas.
This is under the control of Vata.
Therefore, it is evident that Vata and Kapha have a predominant influence over the Srotas.
Vitiation of these two hampers the structural and functional aspects of the Srotas.
We know that Svedana has qualities opposite to those of Vata and Kapha, thereby producing a palliative effect on them and thus leading to the normalcy of Srotas.
It is well known that unless there is a Srotodushti, there is no disease. Thus, it is evident that Svedana clears the Srotodushti or Sanga, thereby curing disease.
The heaviness of the body is relieved by Svedana.
By means of Svedana, fluids in the body are excreted through the Sveda (sweat), and hence, a feeling of lightness in the body occurs.
Svedana stimulates the nerve endings and promotes muscle strength.
Seethaghnata can be understood as the patient being relieved of the coldness existing prior to because of the Ushna Guna Pradhana Sveda Karma. In other words, by the excretion of sweat, the heat in the body is being transmitted out.
Svedana induces Sveda, and it is a Mala (excretory product), which includes the wastes of all the layers of skin, muscles, nerves, rasa, rakta, media, etc.
Therefore, it is a mechanism excreting the metabolic wastes in the body tissues.
Apart from these major actions, Svedana also produces the following effects:
Svedana makes the Dosha Mridu and eradicates the Mala Sanga, penetrates each channel in the body, and liquefies the Dosha.
These liquefied Dosha have to be eliminated from the body with the help of Shodhana Karma.
Snigdha Sveda pacifies Vata Dosha, thereby curing the Pureesha-Mutra-Shukra Sanga.
By its properties opposite to that of Vata, it pacifies the Vata. Svedana is also one of the Upakrama of Vata.
Aacharya Charaka says that by application of oil and heat, even dry wood can be bent, and so does the Shareera.
It cures Ruk, Ayama, Shopha, Stambha, and Graha and produces Mardava, thereby permitting normal flexible body movements.
As Svedana is Ushna Guna Pradhana, it does the Ama Pachana, thereby promoting Agni in the body.
Tvak Mardava and Prasadana:
The mechanism of sweating involves the skin, where the Moola of Svedavaha srotas are situated in hair follicles. Due to sweating and excretion of wastes, skin becomes soft and pleasant.
Due to the production of sweat in the body, there will be dilatation of Srotas, and the channels of the body will be cleared.
Thus, Srotoshuddhi takes place, by which the Vata is regulated, which in turn regulates the movement of urine, feces, and flatus.
Svedana relieves Stambha and Graha, thereby promoting joint movements.
Acharya Sushruta stated that out of the four Tiryak Dhamanis, each divides hundreds and thousands of times gradually and thus becomes innumerable.
It covers the body like a network, and its openings are attached to Romakoopa.
Through them, the Veerya of Abhyanga, Parisheka, Avagaha, and Alepa enter the body after undergoing Paka with Bhrajaka Pitta in the skin.
In Sutrasthana, he explains leaps like Bahirparimarjana treatments yield results by entering Romakoopa, thereby circulating through Svedavaha Srotas Svedana drugs by Ushna and Tikshna Guna are capable of penetrating the microcirculatory channels (Srotas) where they activate the sweat glands to produce more sweat.
After dilatation of microchannels, Laghu and Sara guna of these drugs enable them to act on the Snigdha Dosha in the channels and direct them to move towards Koshtha or excrete them through microspores of the skin in the form of sweat, resulting in Srotoshodhana.
The Dosha brought in Koshtha are expelled out of the body with the help of Shodhana Chikitsa.
Sveda is the by-product of Meda Dhatu which is dominant with Jala Mahabhuta.
Sveda produces Kleda in the body which is also Apa Mahabhuta Pradhana.
The Udaka Dhatu is present in the body in various forms like feces, urine, sweat, skin, lymph, blood, etc.
It performs important functions like Jivana, Tarpana, Malashodhana, etc. When Svedavaha Srotas is vitiated, it leads to the presentation of various symptoms like irregular sweating, the roughness of the skin, a burning sensation all over the body, etc.
Sweat consists of sodium chloride, water, urea, lactic acid, potassium, calcium, etc.
All these substances are also present in extracellular fluid, which provides nutrition to cells.
Excessive sweating in the body leads to depletion of extracellular fluid contents.
Sodium chloride is one of the major substances that are lost during sweating.
Due to its loss, a feeling of exhaustion or weakness in the body occurs. Svedana, by its qualities like Ushna,
Tikshna, etc., stimulate the body.
It increases the metabolic rate in the body.
Ushna Guna of Sveda dilates the capillaries.
Thus, it increases circulation.
Increased circulation leads to more elimination of waste products and more absorption of Sneha or drugs through the skin.
It also stimulates muscles and nerves which promotes its renovation.
Heat administration in Svedana may produce a hypno-analgesic effect by diverted stimuli.
Sweating controls the body’s heat production, water, and electrolyte balance.
Sweat glands are controlled by the central nervous system.
The hypothalamus is the center of heat regulation in our body,
Though the signals generated by the temperature receptors of the hypothalamus are extremely powerful in controlling body temperature, receptors in other parts of the body also play an important role in temperature regulation.
The temperature control system employs two important mechanisms to reduce heat when the body temperature is too hot during Svedana Karma.
Due to Svedana, in almost all areas of the body, the blood vessels of the skin become intensely dilated.
This is caused by inhibition of the sympathetic centers present in the posterior hypothalamus that causes vasoconstriction.
Full vasodilation can increase the rate of heat transfer to the skin by as much as eightfold.
So the Ushna Guna of Svedana karma leads to stimulation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, and there is vasodilation.
Ushna Guna also increases the circulation of Rasa and Rakta in the body.
Induction of Sweating:
An Additional one-degree increase in body temperature causes enough sweating to remove ten times the basal rate of body heat production. During Svedana karma, the body temperature rises to more than 2-3°C.
It results in increased sweating by the above mechanism.
Due to the effect of ‘Sara’ and ‘Sukshma Guna of Svedana Dravya, the Leena Dosha are also liquefied in the body, and they come out through micropores which are present over the skin as pores of sweat glands.
As there is extreme vasodilation due to the production of heat, it results in more excretion of liquefied vitiated Dosha from the body, resulting in Sroto Shodhana.
Thus, Svedana Dravya induces cleansing effect in the body.
Importance of Steam Bath in Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurvedic steam baths play a crucial role in various Ayurvedic treatments. They are often used as a preparatory step before other therapies to enhance their effectiveness.
Steam baths help in softening and loosening the toxins accumulated in the body, making them easier to eliminate.
They also improve the absorption of herbal oils and medicines used in other treatments.
Steam baths are particularly beneficial in conditions such as arthritis, respiratory disorders, skin diseases, and digestive issues.
A steam bath is assuaging as well as enjoyable.
As a supportive activity, a steam bath is especially recommended to alleviate the conditions listed below by virtue of its high steam content and the general benefits of moist heat.
The research confirmed the list carried out at the Institute of Medical Balneology and Climatology at the University of Munich: Bronchial asthma, bronchitis, catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, coughs, hoarseness, expectoration (particularly with the assistance of essential oils), non-acute rheumatic complaints and restricted or painful movements of the joints.
In addition, again as a supportive measure the steam bath is beneficial for persons suffering from:
Sleeping disorders, particularly through over-excitability
- Poor skin circulation
- Dry, chapped skin
- Muscular tension
- Muscular weakness in the subcutaneous blood vessels
- Sensitivity to sudden changes in temperature
The moist heat stimulates the subcutaneous blood flow.
It cleanses the skin intensively, opening the pores, removing dead skin and impurities, and leaving the skin feeling soft, clean, and silky smooth.
Types of Herbal Steam Bath
There are different types of herbal steam baths used in Ayurveda, depending on the dosha imbalance and specific health concerns.
It can differ based on the temperature, herbal mix, and materials used to induce sweating.
Some common types of AyurvedicSteam Baths include:
- Shashtika shali Pinda Sweda or Njavarakkizhi
- Ooshma Sweda or Bashpa Sweda
- Avagaha Sweda
- Nali Sweda
- Upanaha Sweda
- Patrapotalisweda or Ilakkizhi
During all Swedanas, the sweat-inducing agent is carefully directed across the body’s surface.
This movement gently dislodges the toxins inside and directs them to specific locations.
Ooshma Sweda or Bashpa Sweda is a unique herbal steam bath.
It opens pores and directs the amam, or toxins in the body, to a central location for easy expulsion during the main part of the treatment, Panchakarma.
The patient is placed inside a specially designed wooden sauna chamber, with only the head exposed.
Medicated herbal steam is then allowed to permeate throughout the body.
To prevent dehydration, the patient may need to be sprayed with cold water on a regular basis.
Ooshma Sweda balances the Kapha Dosha and alleviates stress.
People with hypertension are usually advised to avoid this type of Swedana.
Nali refers to the nozzle of a tube.
A Nali is used in Nali Sweda to direct medicated steam to the diseased body part.
The continuous stream of steam gradually opens the pores on the skin and gently directs the excess doshas in the system to a central location for expulsion.
First, the specific area of the body to be treated is massaged with an oil made from herbs and plant derivatives.
A herbal mixture is boiled in a steamer to produce steam, which is then carefully directed at the body to avoid burning the skin.
The procedure continues until the patient starts sweating.
Vata- and Vata-kapha-related disorders can be cured using this therapy. Nali Sweda is very effective in the treatment of localized aches, backaches, and muscle spasms.
Avagaha means ‘immersed’ in Sanskrit.
During Avagaha Sweda treatment, the patient is made to sit in warm water that is either neck- or navel-deep and is medicated with herbal extracts.
The level of water in the tub used for this is determined by an Ayurvedic doctor based on the patient’s health and the body part being treated.
To keep the tub’s temperature stable, warm water is replenished on a regular basis.
To prevent dehydration, the treatment is discontinued as soon as the patient begins to sweat.
The entire procedure lasts about 20 minutes. Avagaha Sweda is frequently recommended for the treatment of Vata-related issues. It loosens vitiated doshas in the body while also providing a relaxing experience.
This therapy is strongly recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism, piles, hernia, and others.
Upanaha Sweda entails applying medicinal mixtures to the diseased body part of the patient and leaving it undisturbed for an extended period.
After preparing the area of application, the patient is placed in a comfortable position for the procedure.
Warm herbal oil and medicated pastes are carefully massaged into the body part, which is then covered with bandages or leaves.
The medication is left on the body for an extended period, typically 12 hours.
It is then washed away using herbs and lukewarm water.
The therapy should be continued for at least two to three days. This procedure aids in the treatment of inflammatory conditions.
Podikizhi or Choornapinda sweda
Churna pinda swedam is a popular and effective Ayurvedic treatment that uses medicated powder to induce fomentation.
It involves using heated herbal powders, which are wrapped in a cloth pouch (potli) and gently massaged over the painful area for a stipulated time.
It helps manage certain conditions in arthritis caused by the block of Vata by Kapha, overweight, and obesity.
It is also beneficial in acute pains like sciatica, lumbago, etc.
Patra Potali Swedam
Patra means ‘leaf,’ and Potali means cloth bundle.
This sudation therapy uses an herbal concoction made from leaves to soothe patients’ diseased areas.
Medicinal leaves are chopped, mixed with oils, and wrapped in a piece of cloth to form a fist-sized Kizhi or cotton bundle.
The herbal contents of Kizhi are chosen based on the patient’s symptoms. This warm poultice is massaged onto the patient to cause sweating.
The herbal extracts and oils permeate the skin, soothing the vitiated dosha.
Patrasweda is useful for treating inflammatory joint and muscular problems, as well as Vata-based disorders.
Dhara or Parishekha
Dhara Sweda is the type of Drava Sweda in which medicated oil, milk, medicated buttermilk, medicated ghee, decoction, etc, is filled into a pot and poured slowly and steadily over the affected part of the body or whole body.
Research indicated that Dhara Sweda seems to regulate the various neurohormones by stimulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
It helps to relieve pain and stiffness, reduce stress, and improve blood circulation.
Dhara is further classified based on the method of application of a steamed herbal mixture.
It has a therapeutic effect on the nervous system too.
Njavarakizhi or Shashtika Shali Pinda swedanam
Shashtika Shali Pinda Sweda is one of the most important and rejuvenating forms of sudation therapies used in Panchakarma.
During the treatment, a cotton bundle known as kizhi is dipped in a special kuzhambu, or medicated oil, and massaged uniformly over various parts of the patient’s body.
The kizhi is a cloth-wrapped bolus containing Shastika or Njavara rice cooked in milk and Bala decoction.
A group of 2 therapists should massage the patient at the same time, one on each side.
The patient is made to lie in seven or more different positions to ensure that every part of the body is pleated and sudated.
An attendant regularly replaces used ones with ones that have been thoroughly soaked in warm oil.
The oil left on the body after the procedure is typically removed with palm leaves, and the patient is given a bath with herbal water.
This treatment is prescribed for a variety of ailments, especially for disorders related to the nervous system and musculoskeletal system.
Also, Njavara kizhi can be done by focusing on the face, as it works as an anti-aging therapy that helps fight wrinkles and fine lines.
Ayurvedic steam baths are beneficial for a wide range of health conditions. They can be used to alleviate symptoms such as:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stress and anxiety
- Respiratory congestion
- Skin disorders
- Poor digestion
- Chronic cold
- Difficulty in breathing
- Ear ache
- Facial paralysis
- Retention of urine
- Difficulty in passing out of urine
- Pain, stiffness, and heaviness
- Kati shool/backache
- Vatavyadhi/every disorder with Vata aggravation
- Sarva sandhi shool/joint pains
- Sarva sandhigraha/stiffness of joints
Ayurvedic Steam Bath Procedure
The procedure for an Ayurvedic steam bath may vary depending on the specific treatment and the practitioner’s recommendations.
Here is a general outline of the procedure:
Before starting the steam bath, it is advisable to consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner who can assess your dosha imbalance and recommend the appropriate herbs.
Prepare the steam chamber or box by adding water and the prescribed herbs.
The herbs are usually tied in a cloth or placed in a container that can withstand the heat.
Oil should be applied gently to the body. Herbs are selected depending on the condition and doshic predominance.
The eyes are covered by tying a cloth around the eyes; the head is covered using a wet cotton pad as Ayurveda strongly believes the eyes and head should be protected from overheating.
Begin with a gentle warm-up, such as light stretching or a short massage, to prepare the body for the steam bath.
Enter the steam chamber and sit comfortably.
Allow the steam to surround your body, focusing on your breath and relaxing your mind.
The duration of the steam bath may vary depending on your tolerance and the specific treatment.
Treatment is continued till the forehead and abdomen sweat very well.
Hot water shower:
After the steam bath, a person has to take a shower with hot water to cool off gradually.
Rest and Hydration:
Rest for a while after the steam bath to allow your body to cool down completely.
Drink plenty of warm water or herbal tea to rehydrate and aid in the detoxification process.
Food which is warm, unctuous and light is given after one hour of fomentation.
Duration of Steam Bath
The duration of an Ayurvedic steam bath can range from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on your individual needs and dosha imbalance. Ideally, the procedure is continued till the forehead and abdomen sweat very well.
It is essential to listen to your body and not exceed your comfort level.
If you need clarification on the duration, consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner who can guide you based on your specific health condition.
Herbs and Medicines Used in Steam Bath
In Ayurvedic steam baths, various herbs and medicinal substances are used to enhance the therapeutic benefits.
Some commonly used herbs include:
- Castor plant
- Vitex negundo leaves
- Calotropis leaves
- Tamarind leaves
- Ginger root
- Black gram
- Horse gram
- Black gram
- Drumstick leaves
The choice of herbs and medicines used in the steam bath will depend on your dosha imbalance and specific health concerns.
Who Should Avoid Steam Bath
Although Ayurvedic steam baths are generally safe and beneficial, there are certain conditions in which they should be avoided.
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Open Wounds or Infections
- In people who consume alcohol daily
- Suffering from hemorrhages/bleeding
- With Pitta body constitution
- Suffering from diabetes and loose motions
- Suffering from Jaundice
- Suffering from abdominal disorders
- Afflicted with trauma
- Who are weak
- Suffering from Gout
- Hridya Rogas (Cardiac Diseases)
- Rakta pitta (Bleeding disorders)
- Chhardi (vomiting)
- Trishita (Thirsty/dehydrated)
- Madapeeta (intoxicated)
- Vishapeeta (Poisoned)
- Dagdha (burnt)
If you have any underlying health concerns, it is always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before incorporating steam baths into your wellness routine.
Alternative to Steam Bath
If you are not interested in a steam bath or prefer an alternative method, you can try a sauna bath or a simple home steam therapy.
A sauna is a small room or building designed as a place to experience dry heat sessions or an establishment with one or more of these facilities. The steam and high heat make the bathers perspire.
Saunas can be divided into two basic types:
- Conventional saunas that warm the air
- Infrared saunas that warm objects. Infrared saunas may use a variety of materials in their heating area, such as charcoal, active carbon fibers, and other materials.
How to Give Sauna Bath?
- Undress in the Dressing room
- Drink 1-2 glasses or any drink (avoid caffeine) which has electrolytes.
- Shower first, as this is to moisten the skin and remove any possible body or fragrant odors that do not belong to the Sauna
- Do not give a sauna bath for over 10-15 minutes.
- Exit the Sauna bath if the patient feels uncomfortable or becomes sleepy.
- Cool off with cool fresh air and cool water without shocking the system, and to avoid shivering, give a warm foot bath if the patient has cold feet, and then repeat the session.
- Do not give more than three sessions at a time in the sauna bath.
Simple home therapy
Boil water in a large pot and add a few drops of essential oils or herbs of your choice.
Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam for 10 to 15 minutes. This can help clear the sinuses, soothe respiratory congestion, and promote relaxation.
Dos and Don’ts
Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when taking an Ayurvedic steam bath:
- Drink plenty of warm water or herbal tea before and after the steam bath to stay hydrated.
- Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to sweat freely.
- Do listen to your body and take breaks if needed during the steam bath.
- Take a shower before the first session
- Time of stay in the steam bath in accordance with your sensitivity
- Cool off with cool fresh air and cool water without shocking the system, and avoid shivering
- You can take a warm foot bath if you have cold feet
- Don’t eat a heavy meal immediately before or after the steam bath, as it may interfere with the detoxification process.
- Don’t stay in the steam chamber for longer than your comfort level or the recommended duration.
- Don’t expose yourself to cold temperatures immediately after the steam bath, as it may affect your body’s ability to cool down gradually.
- Stay within 15-20 minutes.
While Ayurvedic steam baths are generally safe, it is important to take certain precautions to ensure a positive and safe experience:
- Consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before starting steam baths, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
- Follow the recommended duration and temperature guidelines to avoid overheating or dehydration.
- If you experience any discomfort, dizziness, or shortness of breath during the steam bath, exit the chamber immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Do not use alcohol prior to or during a Steam bath; alcohol (it dehydrates your body) can cause drowsiness and or the ability to determine the effects of the Steam bath.
- After a workout, give the body adequate time to cool down before exposing it to the heat of a Steam to avoid heat stroke. The patient must rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Ask the patient to drink plenty of water before and after the Steam bath to replace fluid lost during the treatment.
- Limit Steam/steam time to 10 to 15 minutes. The sweat glands can secrete up to 30 grams of sweat per minute, or almost one pint per 15 minutes, so dehydration is a very real possibility if you are not careful. Fatigue and other indications of dehydration can occur with as little as 1 to 2% loss in body weight. Symptoms of too much dehydration include dizziness, vertigo, rapid heartbeat, or excessive thirst. Also, make sure the patient has yet to eat any large meals beforehand.
- People with low blood pressure(as steam baths decrease blood pressure) and pregnant women should not use steam baths. High temperatures can harm the fetus or cause fainting. Children’s ability to tolerate heat is limited, since their skin area/body mass ratio is high, sweating system is immature and fat layer is thin
- Steam should not, of course, be used as a weight loss aid by itself, but when used with a good diet and exercise program, it can help burn more calories. Weight is lost in Steam, but most of it is water loss from sweating.
- Avoid using excessively hot water or steam, as it may cause burns or scalds.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Steam Bath
Ayurvedic steam baths offer a multitude of benefits for the mind, body, and soul. Some of the key benefits include:
- Detoxification: Steam baths help eliminate toxins and impurities from the body through sweating, promoting overall detoxification.
- Relaxation and Stress Relief: The warmth of the steam bath relaxes the muscles, calms the mind, and reduces stress and anxiety. In the hydrotherapeutic tradition used at European and American spas, sweat therapy is used in preparation for massage as a means of increasing the suppleness of the muscles and creating a deep sense of relaxation in the body and mind
- Improved Circulation: The heat from the steam bath dilates the blood vessels, improving blood circulation and oxygenation of the tissues. The blood vessels become more flexible and there is increased circulation to the extremities.
- Skin Health: Steam baths open up the pores, allowing for better absorption of nutrients and promoting healthy, glowing skin.
- Respiratory Health: Steam helps clear the respiratory passages, reduces congestion, and provides relief from respiratory conditions such as sinusitis and bronchitis.
- Pain Relief: Steam baths can provide temporary relief from muscle and joint pain by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
- Enhanced Digestion: The heat of the steam bath stimulates digestion, improves metabolism, and aids in the elimination of waste.
- Increased Cardiac Output: During steam baths, blood flow to the skin increases to as high as 50-70% of cardiac output (compared to the standard 5-10%). This brings nutrients to subcutaneous and surface tissue, resulting in glowing, healthy skin. Steam provides a cardiovascular workout that helps condition the heart
- Anti-inflammatory Action: Steam heat puts the body into an artificial fever state (hyperthermia). Fever is part of the body’s natural healing process. This “Take fever” stimulates the immune system, resulting in an increased production of disease-fighting white blood cells and antibodies. Meanwhile, the growth of bacteria and viruses is forced to slow down.
- Tighten Muscles: Athletes use Steam to loosen tight muscles after a hard workout
- Boosts Energy Levels: Steam baths make you feel rejuvenated and increase your energy levels. The Steam helps to get a more restful sleep
- Overall Health: A Steam bath opens skin pores, soothes sore muscles, and increases circulation; however, more than common, metabolic waste products are secreted through the skin, and steaming helps eliminate this waste product to some extent.
Can I Have a steam bath at home?
Yes, you can have your steam bath at home with a few simple steps. In a large pot, bring water to a boil, then add your preferred herbs or essential oils.
Cover your head with a towel and place your face over the pot, letting the steam envelop your skin.
Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and relax for 10 to 15 minutes. Remember to keep a safe distance from the hot water to avoid getting burned.
Is it okay to Take a steam bath every day?
Your specific needs and dosha imbalance determine the frequency of steam baths.
While some people benefit from steam baths on a daily basis, others may prefer to do them once or twice a week. It is critical to listen to your body and see how it reacts to the steam baths. If you have any discomfort or excessive dryness, reduce the frequency or duration of your steam baths.
Which is the Best Time to Take a Steam Bath?
The best times to take a steam bath are in the morning or early evening. Avoid taking a steam bath right after a heavy meal or when you’re extremely tired.
Allow time for digestion and relaxation before taking a steam bath. It is also best to avoid steam baths late at night, as they may disrupt your sleep.
Can We Drink Water After a Steam Bath?
Yes, after a steam bath, you should drink plenty of warm water or herbal tea to rehydrate your body.
The steam bath causes sweating, which results in fluid loss.
Replenishing lost fluids is critical for maintaining proper hydration and assisting the detoxification process.
Is it Good for Pregnant Women?
No, Pregnant women should avoid taking steam baths, especially in the first trimester.
Increased heat and sweating can raise body temperature, which is harmful to the developing fetus.
If you are pregnant and thinking about taking a steam bath, you should consult your doctor first.
Is a Steam Bath Good for Kids?
No, Steam baths are not recommended for young children because their bodies are more sensitive to heat and may not tolerate the steam well.
It is best to wait until the child reaches an appropriate age and then consult with an Ayurvedic healthcare professional before introducing them to steam baths.
However, you can perform localized sweating procedures with hands for children up to 4 months.
However, if you prefer a Swedish procedure, go for Njavara kizhi or Shashtika shali pinda swedam, which is rejuvenative and beneficial for children.
Steam bath is essential prior to any Panchakarma procedure.
Due to oleation and sudation, benefits and acceptance of the main procedure are improved.
It makes changes in aggravated doshas to mobilize them without creating harm to the body.
Negligence in a steam bath causes complications as an unripe fruit gets crushed during juice extraction, whereas a proper procedure gets the benefits as a ripened fruit is best and juice can be easily extracted.
Effective clinical results can be obtained in disease conditions where there is severe stiffness, pain, wasting of muscles, and loss of muscle strength.
Proper care is to be taken while administering Steam bath to prevent complications.
So why delay? Embrace the power of Ayurveda and embark on a journey of relaxation, detoxification, and overall wellness.
Explore the benefits of Ayurvedic steam baths and incorporate them into your wellness routine.
Consult with an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional to determine the best approach for your individual needs.
Rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul with the healing power of Ayurveda.