Sweating Therapy – Swedana Karma: Ashtanga Hrudayam Sutrasthana 17

We are explaining Swedana procedure in this chapter.  Swedana refers to sweating or sweating therapy. The term sweda means sweat. The patient is made to sweat on purpose. Usually this procedure is done after doing the oleation therapy (Snehakarma), that we studied in the last chapter.

Types of sudation treatments

Kinds of sweating treatments – Swedana Prakara
1. Tapa- fomentation,
2. Upanaha- warm poultice,
3. Ushma- warm steam and
4. Drava – pouring of warm liquid.

Tapa sweda

Tapa Sweda is done by touching the affected part of the body with heated cloth, metal plate, forehead, palm of the hand etc. 1

Upanaha sweda

Upanaha Sweda  is application of poultice prepared from
Vacha (Acorus calamus), Kinva-yeast, Shatahva (Dill),
Devadaru – (Himalayan cedar (bark) – Cedrus deodara) etc. Any kind of grains, all substances having pleasant smell, roots of Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata) and Castor (Eranda); or meat;
Each one added with more of salt, fats-oil ghee etc. Chukra- Vinegar, Takra-Buttermilk and milk. It is preferred in people with Vata imbalance–poultice are known as Salvana upanaha and should be applied often. 2-3

After applying the poultice, the part of the body should be bandaged with a soft piece of leather which does not have bad smell, which has been oiled; it should be slightly warmed and tied;
If leather is not available, leaves of plants which balance Vata, silk cloth, or woolen cloth may be used; poultice tied during night should be removed during day and that tied during day should be removed during night.4-5

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Ushma sweda

 Ushma Sweda- Here the steam of the hot substance is directed towards the body part. Steam may be obtained by Utkarika- (boiling  grains, pulses, seeds etc).
Stones, pebbles, mud, leaves pieces, grains, dried dung of animals like cow, Sheep, Goat etc, Sand, Husk etc  are also used for this purpose. 6-7 a

Drava sweda

 Drava Sweda – Warm liquid is prepared by boiling bits of leaves of drumstick, Varanaka, Eranda – (Castor – Ricinus communis), Karanja, Surasa, Arjaka, Shireesa, Vasa, Vamsha, Arka, Malati (Jasmine) or Dirghvrinta, with drugs of vachadigana – chapter 15, meat of animals of Marshy land and of those living in water, drugs of Dashamula, each one separately or all together, mixed with fats – oil, ghee etc.  appropriate to the Dosha;
Sura- beer, Sukta- fermented gruel, water and milk.
This medicated liquid should be filled in a pot, jug with spout, or a tube and poured slowly and steadily over the painful part covered with cloth. 7b-10

In case of Vata affecting the entire body, the same- medicated water may be filled into tub and the patient made to sit in it, this method can be adopted in piles, Dysuria etc.11

Procedure of sudation therapy

Swedavidhi – procedure of Sweating therapy:-

Sweating should be administered to him who has been given Snehana – both internally – by drinking fats and externally – anointing  oil over the body, who is staying in a room devoid of breeze and after his meal has been completely digested. 12 a

Sweating may be mild, moderate or strong depending upon the condition of the disease, patient, habitat and season. 12b

Person suffering from diseases of Kapha should be given sweating treatment in dry condition – without the use of fat internally and externally and with dry liquid – without addition of fats;
In case of Kapha and Vata increased together, the patient should be in dry condition and liquid mixed fats – should be used for sweating. 13 a

When vata is localized  in the Amashaya – stomach  dry sweating should be given.
When Kapha is localized in Pakvasaya – (intestines), oil-sweating should be given. 13b-14 a

Sweating should be very mild / nil  over the groins and also on the eye, scrotum and heart. 14b

Benefits of sudation treatment

Benefits of sweating treatment – care to be taken – Swedana phala and Upacana –:-

Diminution of cold and pain and softness  of the organ accrue from Sweating. After wards the body should be massaged slowly, given bath –in warm water and allowed comforts as prescribed in lubrication therapy.15

Effects of excessive sudation

 Ati Swedana phala – effects of excess Sweating :-

Aggravation of Pitta and  vitiation of blood,

thirst, loss of consciousness, weakness of voice and body,
Bhrama – Delusion, Dizziness
Sandhipeeda –  pain in the joints,
Jvara – fever, appearance of black- blue, red patches on the skin, and vomiting are produced by excess of Sweating therapy;
For that, Stambhana treatment should be done. It is the same procedure, useful in diarrhoea and bleeding disorders.
Withholding, stopping , hindering of elimination is the treatment, so also for patients suffering from poison, caustic Alkali and Burning by fire; diarrhoea, vomiting and unconsciousness 16-17

Generally substances which are heavy, penetrating and hot in potency are used in Swedana therapy.
Substances of opposite properties are used in Sthambhana (withholding, hindrances to elimination)
Drugs which are liquid, sthira – static, mobile, unctuous, dry and penetrating bring about sweating.
Those which are smooth, dry, thin, mobile and liquid, bitter, Astringent and sweet in taste are generally Stambhana 18-19

Stambhana is useful in diarrhoea and bleeding disorders therapy. With this treatment, the person gains Strength and gets relieved of symptoms of excess sweating disappear. 20a

Symptoms of excess Sthambana

Contraction of skin and tendons, tremors, stiffness of region of heart, choking of voice, locked jaw, black discoloration of the feet, lips, skin and hands. 20-21a

Person unsuitable for sudation treatment

ASwedayah – persons Unsuitable for Sweating:-

Atishoola
Atirooksha – highly dry
Durbala – weak, debilitated
Murchita – fainted, unconscious
Those who are fit for Sthambhana treatment,
Kshataksheena – wounded, injured
Patients with Ama condition,
Madyavikari – chronic alcoholics
Night blindness,
Visarpa – herpes
Kushta
Shosha – emaciated
Who have recently consumed milk, curds, fat,
Who have just undergone Virechana treatment
Who are burnt,
Who are tired, suffering from anger, grief, fear, excess thirst, hunger,
Kamala – liver diseases
Pandu – anemia
Meha – urinary disorders
People with Pitta imbalance.
Women who are pregnant, menstruating – during periods and delivered  – recently .In case of emergency diseases , it should be done mildly – for the above. 21-24

Person suitable for sudation treatment

Persons who deserve Swedana – Svedyah-
Shwasa – dysnoea, COPD, Asthma
Kasa – cough,
Pratishyaya – running nose, allergic rhinitis
Hidhma – hiccup,
Adhmana – bloating,
Vibandha – constipation,
Svarabheda – altered voice, hoarseness
Vatavyadi – diseases of Vata imbalance
Angamarda – bodyache
Stiffness in lower back, flanks, back, abdomen and jaws
Enlargement of the scrotum, contractions of toes and fingers, tetanus sprains, dysuria, Malignant tumor- cancer, benign tumor, obstruction to the flow of semen and urine, and Adhyamaruta- Thigh stiffness. 25-27

Anagni sweda

Anagni Sweda – Sweating without fire source – 

Sweating without source of fire is suitable in diseases of vata enveloped by Medas and Kapha.
Nivata sadana – Staying in air tight room,
Ayasa – stressful physical activity,
Gurupravarana – covering oneself with thick blankets,
Bhaya – fear,
Upanaha – bandaging wrapping with cloth etc.
Fighting, wrestling
Krodha – anger
Bhuripana – excess drinking of water
Kshudha – withholding hunger
Atapa – Sun exposure – 28-29a

Effect of sudation treatment

Sweda phala Effects of Sweating :-

Doshas which have been lubricated by oleation therapy, residing either in the alimentary tract, tissues or lurking in the channels of the extremities bones etc are liquefied by Sweating therapy, brought into the alimentary canal to be eliminated out of the body completely, by appropriate purification therapies.
So, sweating is done after oleation, but before elimination of Doshas by Panchakarma. 30

Thus ends the chapter Swedavidhi- the Seventeenth of Sutrasthana of Astangahrdaya Samhita.

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