What is Swedana?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2019
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The term “swedana” is used in Ayurvedic medicine to describe treatments which involve sweating. Many people use it specifically to refer to one swedana treatment, the closed steam box. In Ayurveda, swedana is used to relieve excess doshas from the body, establishing a state of balance which promotes general health. People who do not practice ayurveda may also take advantage of swedana treatments, believing that they have health and beauty benefits.

This word is derived from the Sanskrit word swid, which means “to sweat.” According to the principles of Ayurveda, sweating releases toxins from the body, promoting general health. Sweating can also be used to create dosha or body type imbalances, especially when combined with herbs which target specific doshas. In order for a swedana treatment to be effective, the practitioner must first assess the patient's dosha type to determine the best mixture of herbs.

Swedana can be broken into a number of different types. It can be wet or dry, mild to strong, and produced with or without the aid of fire. Exercise, for example, is a form of swedana which does not involve the use of fire, while sitting in a sauna is a dry form produced with the assistance of fire. Depending on the case, swedana may involve the entire body, or the treatment may involve only a very specific part of the body, and the duration of the treatment can vary.


When spas offer swedana, they typically refer to a very specific type of swedana which involves a steam box. In this type of swedana, someone's body is enclosed in a box which is filled with herb-infused steam, with the mixture of the herbs being determined by the client's type. Clients sit in the steam box for around a half hour before being released.

The immediate benefit of this type of swedana is better skin, as the heat and steam helps keep the skin clear and healthy. It can also relieve muscle aches and pains, and for people who follow ayurvedia principles, it can relieve an imbalance of doshas which may be causing health problems. Many people also believe that sweating helps the body detoxify.

Swedana is not for everyone. People who are pregnant should avoid it, as should people with blood disorders, heart conditions, and bouts of dizziness or vertigo. Whether you undertake swedana for health, beauty, or both, it is a good idea to consult a doctor first to make sure that it is not contraindicated for you. Ayurvedic practitioners also believe that swedana is dangerous for people with feelings of anger or jealousy.


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Post 3

I love going for snehana oil massage followed by swedana. It is so relaxing and I feel that all my tension has disappeared. The other great part is that your skin smells like the scent of the herbs used in swedana for the next day or so. It's such a great experience. I recommend it to take the stress of work and life off. You feel like you've just come back from vacation!

Post 2

I want to have swedana done for cellulite. I heard that it is an amazing exfoliator and improves skin tone, helps get rid of acne and that it's even good for joint pain and arthritis.

My friends recommended a beauty center that does different ayurvedic remedies for skin, including swedana.

Do you think that beauty centers do swedana correctly? Reading this article, I feel that it is also a serious medical treatment in addition to a beauty treatment. So I am a bit worried that having it done at a beauty center without prior examination and analysis of imbalances might be harmful.

What do you think? What should I do?

Post 1

I think some ayurveda centers use swedana as a primary step before using other treatments. The ayurveda center I was interested in listed consuming oil as the first step and then swedana to help prepare the patient for other ayurvedic treatments.

I think it's sort of a cleaning process where they detoxify the body first to help find the actual cause of the health problem or imbalance.

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