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Introduction to Svedhana and Heat Therapies

Monday, October 20, 2014

Heat has been used therapeutically for centuries, perhaps longer. Even holding an injury with our own hands is a form of healing with heat. One of the most developed protocols for healing with heat is the svedhana therapy as found in the vast science of Ayurveda. Svedhana therapy comes from the Ayurvedic tradition, and offers a wide range of specific uses.

Why Heat Works So Well

According to Ayurveda, when vata (flow) is blocked, it can cause pain and dysfunction. The application of heat reduces vata to some extent, and dilates srotas (channels) to support normal flow. Heat also breaks up ama (congestion) that may be blocking vata, and thus supports long term therapeutic changes.

This is very similar to Western medicine's use of heat therapy:

Heat Supports Vasodilation (Widening of Blood Vessels)

Heat Supports Kinetics (Movement)

Optimizing Heat Therapies

Moist .vs. Dry
Moist heat tends to be more effective than dry heat because it penetrates the tissue more deeply. Wet saunas, herb steams and and even hot wet towels are more effective in many ways.

Short .vs. Long
Usually apply heat for 10-25 minutes at a time.

When Heat is Contraindicated

In Ayurveda you always take care when applying heat:

Using Herbs and Heat together Radically Accelerates Wellness

Herbs and heat work synergistically to support deep wellness. Heat can open channels that will accelerate the flow of the herbs into the tissue, which relaxes the tissue and increases blood flow. Heat and herbs is simply a really great team, especially when you consume the herbs orally with warm Tulsi Tea.