Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Ashmaghana means big stone bed
Sweda (Swedana) means Sudation, steaming, sweating treatment, fomentation
Ashmaghana is one among the 13 types of Saagni Sweda. Since there is contact of fire (herbs of vata alleviating herbs are burnt with fire on the stone slab) in this treatment, it is categorized under Saagni Sweda (Sa-agni = with fire)
Since the woods of herbs are burnt on the slab, the sudation will be of dry type; therefore it is included under ruksha sweda (dry form of sudation).
Since the entire body is given with sudation at a time uniformly, it is categorized under sarvanga sweda i.e. full body sudation.
Ashmaghana Sveda is a type of sudation in which the vata alleviating woods are burnt on a big slab having the dimensions enough to comfortably accommodate a person on it. The patient who has been subjected to abhyanga (herbal oil massage) is made to sleep on the slab (ashma) after clearing the burning coal from the slab by pouring water over it.
Materials and methods
Agra sangrahaniya – Materials needed for conducting Ashmaghana Sweda
Ashma – A big stone slab is mandatory need for conducting Ashmaghana Sweda. The stone should be big enough. It should be large enough to accommodate a person on it, in lying position. It should be 6 feet in length and 2-2.5 feet in breadth. It should have a leveled and uniform surface and smooth in texture.
Vatahara Kashta – the wood and sticks of trees having vata alleviating properties like Devadaru (Cedrus deodara) etc should be taken collected.
Oils for Abhyanga – Herbal oils having Vata alleviating properties like TilaTaila, Ksheerabala Taila, Eranda Taila, Nirgundi Taila, Dashamula Taila, Mahanarayana Taila, etc should be collected and kept in stock.
Man-Power (Paricharakas) – 2-3 attendants should suffice for easy conduct of treatment.
Ashmaghana Sweda Vidhi Vidhana (Conducting Ashmaghana Sweda)
Preparing the Ashma or stone slab – The woods of vata alleviating trees are placed on the stone slab and burnt with fire. When they are thoroughly burnt and all the smoke has been eliminated the red hot burning charcoal of those wood are left over. The coal is cleared off the slab. Water is poured on the hot slab. Over this hot slab a soft cloth is spread out.
Abhyanga – The patient is subjected to Abhyanga with vatahara tailas.
Swasthi Vachana – Prayers are offered to the God for the welfare of the patient and also for successful conduct of the treatment.
Providing Ashmaghana Sweda – The patient who has been given abhyanga is covered with a cloth and made to sleep on the hot slab covered with cloth. Before that, the temperature of the slab should be checked and taken care that it should be tolerably hot. Or else it may cause burns. A thick blanket is covered over the patient’s body. The patient starts sweating due to the heat of the slab. The face of the patient is not covered with the blanket.
Duration of Swedana – Swedana is provided until the patient sweats properly and the signs of proper sudation (samyak swinna lakshanas) have been obtained.
Post-swedana measures – After the completion of swedana the patient is given rest for 1 muhurta i.e. 48 minutes. Later he is given hot water bath. Light diet is provided. If needed the disease modifying medicines are given. Nitya Virechana – daily purgation with vata alleviating oils like Gandharvahastadi Eranda Taila is given every night on treatment days so as to expel the toxins which have been released into the body during Swedana.
Health benefits and indications of Ashmaghana Sweda
All benefits and indications mentioned in Prastara Sweda are also applicable for Ashmaghana Sweda. Below mentioned are the conditions in which Ashmaghana Sweda is exceptionally useful –
- Vata disorders
- Kapha disorders
- Disorders caused due to simultaneous vitiation of vata and kapha
- Ama diseases – diseases caused by ama (immature essence of digestion in circulation)
- Gurutva, stabdhata – heaviness and stiffness in the body, body parts, muscles,
- Mamsagata vata – muscle pains
- Back pain
- Low back pain, spondylosis,
- Pelvic pain
- Hip pain
- Pain in flanks
- Contractures or stiffness in the region of low back, hip and pelvis
Just Before Finishing –
In this article we have covered the details of the stone slab sweating, an important form of swedana treatment explained in Ayurveda and an unparalleled remedy for many disorders. The advantage of this swedana form is that it is easy to do and is cost effective apart from bestowing many health benefits and providing remedy for many diseases.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu) – Email / Skype