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Nadi Sweda

by Dr. Pooja Saini
Nadi Sweda

Ayurvedic treatments have always been a great relief for various health problems and diseases. All ayurvedic treatments are divided into two types:

  1. Sodhana Chikitsa – Detoxification Treatment
  2. Shamana Chikitsa – Alleviating Treatment

Shodhana refers to body purification treatment. On the other hand Shamana refers to the treatment using ayurvedic medicines. These ayurvedic medicines are made of various herbs and other natural resources.

There is a variety of purification and detoxification treatments in ayurveda. In ayurvedic terminology, it is called Panchakarma. One of them is known as Swedana treatment. All types of Swedana treatments come under Shodhana. Swedana is often known as the sweating treatment administered to detoxify the body by the release of excessive sweating. Nadi Sweda is a sub-category of Swedana therapy.

What is Nadi Sweda?

The term Nadi Sweda is derived from Sanskrit where ‘Nadi’ means small tubes and ‘Sweda’ means sweating or perspiration. Thus, this ayurvedic therapy is a process by which steam is passed to various parts of the body in order to attain profound sweating.

Nadi Sweda is a type of Swedana, which forms an integral part of Panchakarma detox. This therapy can be used individually also for skeletal disorders and muscular problems.

In Ayurveda, these sweat therapies play a significant role. Excess sweating opens all the channels of the body and thus helps in removal of toxins from the body. Apart from this, Nadi Sweda plays an important role in curing certain diseases. Steam treatments like this are quite beneficial in relieving joint pains, swelling in the body and muscular stiffness.

Equipment used in Nadi Swedana

Nadi sweda requires the proper type of equipment to be carried out effectively. The tool used to carry out this process is called Nadi Sweda Yantra. The Nadi Sweda Yantra consists of two main parts

  1. A long tube and
  2. A hot cooker like a steam

In earlier times, the tools consisted of hollow stem of plants for serving as a tube and a pot for heating up the herbal mixture to generate steam.

The long tube is attached to the steam generator for the passage of steam through the tube directly to the end. The steam coming out of the end is sprayed on the whole body or the specific areas of the patient’s body. The hollow tube is made of a rust-free metal and the outer side of the metal tube is covered with rubber for convenient handling.

The steam generator is a metal pot like structure in which various herbs mixed with water and other herbal liquids are used to produce steam.  The cooker like structure has a small nozzle where the rubber tube is connected. The nadi sweda yantra is easily available in the market for purchase.

Nadi Sweda Procedure

The whole procedure of nadi sweda takes about 15-45 mins, depending on the area of the body. Before the therapy, the ayurvedic doctor examines the patient’s body and takes note of the medical conditions of the patient if any. This step is very vital as it helps in determining the use of herbs and liquids for the treatment. Nadi sweda is carried out mostly as a part of Panchakarma detox but can also be carried out separately.

The selected mixture of herbs is taken into the cooker or pot where it is mixed with water and other herbal liquids or decoction. The container is then covered and heated in order to produce steam. The hot steam rises and flows out of the hollow tube attached to the pot.

After all these preparations, the patient is seated on a stool or chair where the steam is passed to his body. The patient may be asked to change the positions during the therapy for treating some other body parts.  The area receiving steam should not be covered with any type of clothing as it may hinder the efficiency of the therapy. The steam coming out of the tube is directly passed onto the body in various movements. In case of joints, the steam is sprayed in a circular motion and on other parts in an up and down motion.

The procedure is continued until sudation occurs on the body. Hot steam helps in injecting the herbal benefits directly into the skin through pores opened during the therapy. The therapy is helpful in cases of vata and kapha disorders. Heat therapies often cause an increase in the metabolic rate in the body.

Keeping in view the severity of the patient’s condition, the therapy may last from 7-14 days or more. Care must be taken as too much exposure to steam can cause skin burns and redness on the skin. Therefore, make sure your practitioner is experienced and communicate about your capacity to tolerate heat.

Indications

The therapy provides immediate relief from conditions like inflammation, back pains and neck pains, sprains, muscular stiffness, frozen joints and other skeletal disorders. If carried out on a regular basis it may prove to be helpful in severe conditions like arthritis, partial or full paralysis.

Benefits of Nadi Sweda

Here is a list of benefits of Nadi Swedan.

Eliminates Toxins

In ayurvedic medicine system, the major aim of any steam treatment is to open all the channels of the body in order to eliminate toxins. Purification of the body helps in reducing the risks of various kinds of diseases and helps in maintaining healthy living. The steam passed directly to the various body organs results in excess perspiration from that area and removal of harmful toxins from the body. Thus, due to this feature, the therapy forms an integral part of Panchakarma detox.

Reduces Pain and Stiffness

Heat therapies are very effective for pains and stiffness in the body. Heat helps in reducing pain by ensuring a better supply of blood and nutrients in that area. Moreover, the herbs used in the therapy get directly absorbed into the skin through sweat channels which further assists in relieving from the pain. This therapy can also prove to be helpful in cases like sprains, partial or complete paralysis, back and neck pain, arthritis and bursitis.

Cellulite Breakdown – Useful in Obesity

Nadi sweda is a kind of heat treatment and often all such treatments are very helpful in treating obesity. The steam helps in breaking down the extra fat and layers of cellulite present under the skin. This keeps the body in good shape and helps in reducing the risk of obesity and weight gain.

Boosts the Circulation of Blood

This detoxification therapy helps in opening all the blocked channels of the body and gives rise to profound sweating. By opening the blocked channels in the body, this therapy ensures a better circulation of blood all over the body. Better blood circulation ensures a better supply of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body.

Rejuvenates Skin

The presence of impurities in the body can result in poor and lifeless skin and other skin problems like acne, pimples, skin infections and uneven skin texture. The removal of these impurities leaves behind healthy and glowing skin. The herbs used in this therapy are also very beneficial for skin and they get directly injected into the skin from steam through open pores.

Necessary Precautions

Though Nadi sweda is a very effective treatment but it should not be undertaken in some special cases. These conditions may get worst after the therapy:

  • Pregnant women should not undergo this therapy as it involves the transfer of excessive heat to the body. However, if required, it must be undertaken under the supervision.
  • People with fever may also avoid this therapy as it may result in an increase in their body temperature making their condition worse.
  • You should consult the practitioner before taking the therapy in case of diarrhea.
  • Use of this therapy in case of jaundice can result in more complications.
  • Cardiac problems may get more severe with this problem as excess sweating directly puts pressure on the heart.
  • Patients with bleeding disorders like hemorrhage should avoid Nadi Sweda as this therapy can aggravate pitta Dosha which may worse the condition.
  • Patients suffering from Diabetes mellitus should also avoid this therapy as it may have adverse effects.
  • This therapy is also not recommended in cases of various skin problems and allergies.

It is always advisable to consult an experienced ayurvedic doctor before going in for any such therapy to avoid any adverse effects. The doctor may suggest a more helpful and safer choice keeping in view the needs of the patient.

References

  1. Akhtar, B., Mahto, R. R., Dave, A. R., & Shukla, V. D. (2010). Clinical study on Sandhigata Vata w.s.r. to Osteoarthritis and its management by Panchatikta Ghrita Guggulu. Ayu, 31(1), 53-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5607387/
  2. Bharti, Katyal, S., Kumar, A., Makhija, R., & Devalla, R. B. (2010). Clinical observation on Greeva Stambha (cervical spondylosis) Chikitsa. Ayu, 31(2), 218-22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215367/
  3. Bhinde, S. M., Patel, K. S., Kori, V. K., & Rajagopala, S. (2014). Management of spastic cerebral palsy through multiple Ayurveda treatment modalities. Ayu, 35(4), 462-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4492036/
  4. Bharti, Katyal S, Kumar A, Makhija R, Devalla RB. Clinical observation on Greeva Stambha (cervical spondylosis) Chikitsa. Ayu. 2010 Apr;31(2):218-22. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.72402. PubMed PMID: 22131713; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3215367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22131713

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