Cholestasis And Ayurveda

Svedana Therapy

Svedana Therapy

Induction of sweating for therapeutic purpose is referred by the name svedana in Ayurveda. This may be used either for promotion of health or for curing the illness. By definition the procedure that alleviates the stiffness of the body, relieves sense of heaviness, and cures feeling of cold is called as svedana treatment. And these effect are achieved by increasing the natural process of perspiration. Sweat is a form of body waste. According to Ayurveda, sweat is produced during the metabolism of medas vis-à-vis adipose tissue. And this sweat has considerable role in the maintenance of proper balance of body fluids. The process of sweating also involves elimination of waste and toxins from the body. These natural functions of the sweat are utilized for the therapeutic purpose in the svedana procedure. Svedana is a form of treatment, employed to cure specific diseases or to relieve symptoms like pain, stiffness, or contracture that may manifest as a symptom in different diseased conditions.

Types Of Svedana Therapy

The procedure of svedana treatment may be classified on different perspective. Depending upon the usage of heat svedana is said to be of two types. Likewise relating to the application of the oil prior to the svedana procedure once agin it is said to be of two types. Similarly svedana is of two types in accordance with the extent of body parts exposed for svedana.

Svedana may be performed with the application of direct heat or even without the use of direct heat. Accordingly agnisveda and anagnisveda are the two types of inducing perspiration.


Induction of perspiration by applying heat directly on to the skin is called as agnisveda. This may be achieved by using steam, warm poultice warm packs of boiled food grains etc.


Inducing sweating without the application of direct heat is called as anagnisveda. Following are the methods adopted for inducing sweating without using the direct heat.

Vyayama * Physical exercise.

Ushna-sadana * Staying in a warm house.

Guru-pravarana * Covering the body with a thick blanket.

Kshudha * Observation of fasting

Bahupanam * Intake of alcohol.

Bhaya * Experience of fear.

Krodha * Becoming angry.

Upanaha * Pasting of medicines that are hot by Quality.

Ahava * Involving in fighting.

Atapa * Exposure to sunshine

In all these examples body is made to perspire, but not by the application of heat. By the above said activities the production of the heat with in the body is increased and that makes one to perspire.

Following are the thirteen types of svedana procedure mentioned in CharakaSamhita.


Sankarasveda refers to application of heat by using the heated packs. Here packs are prepared by pounded plant parts or boiled grains tied on a piece of cloth packs are then heated in a boiling decoction or oil. Such warm packs are used for application of heat to the part of the body. Svedana can also be performed to the whole body by this procedure but will be a tedious process.


Application of heat by making the patient to lie down on a heated marble slab with his body covered by a blanket is known as Prastarasveda. In this procedure first marble slab is heated by spreading boiled grains. Size of the slab should be adequate to accommodate the patient in supine position. When the heat in the slab is tolerable, grains on the surface of the marble is covered with a silk cloth or leaves of eranda (Ricinuscommunis),

and the patient is made to lie down on this slab with his body covered with a thick blanket. This induces sweating.


Here steam from a boiling decoction is passed on the diseases parts of the body. And this is possible by using the unique instrument meant for this. Details of which is given in the respective chapter.


Warm infusions are poured on the body part that aredisesed and this procedure is known as Parishekasveda. For this purpose dharayantra described in shirahseka may be used.


Warm infusion is filled into a bath-tub and the patient is made to sit in this tub for a prescribed period. This is ideal for inducing perspiration in whole body.


Jentakasveda is performed in a room specially built for this purpose. Inside the room there will be facility for burning the medicinal plants and space for resting for one person. Initially the medicinal plant is burnt to make the room warm. When all the smoke in the room is cleared, patient is allowed to stay in the room for certain period with his body covered with a thick

blanket. In this type of the sveda whole body is exposed to heat.


As the name itself indicates, here the svedana is performed on a human size marble slab. Initially, selected medicinal plants are burnt on this slab. When the slab is heated to adequate temperature, the fire is extinguished by sprinkling water. Then the surface of the slab is cleaned, and a silk cloth is spread on the marble slab. Now the patient is allowed to lie on this warm slab with his body draped by a thick blanket. Warm slab as well as steam from the slab induces sweating in the patient.


A pit in the ground specially built with a narrow mouth and wide base is required for this from of svedana. First, medicinal herbs are burnt inside this pit, and a cot is placed over this pit. The cot must be such that its surface is made up of ropes and has plenty of small rents. The patient is asked to lie down on this cot covering his body with a thick cloth. Steam emitting from this pit passes through the cot as well as the patient and thus induces sweating. This special form of svedana procedure is called by the name Karshusveda.


This is another form of svedana treatment where special room exclusively built for this purpose is utilized. It is a round small room adequate to accommodate one patient and devoid of any windows for ventilation. The walls of the room are pasted with thick paste made out of medicinal plants. Patient is made to lie down on a cot placed on the center of the room. And his body is draped with a thick blanket. Simultaneously red-hot coal of burnt medicinal plant is put in an iron vessel placed near the cot. In this way the heated room causes perspiration in the patient.

  • BHU SVEDA                                      

In a breeze free area, human height length of the ground is selected. And the surface of which should be levelled well. In such a surface medicinal plants are first burnt, and when the ground is adequately heated the fire is extinguished by sprinkling water. The ground is cleaned, and the patient is asked to lie down on this warm ground. His body is draped with thick blanket. The heat and steam from the ground induces perspiration in the patient. This is the procedure of Bhusveda.


Kumbhi means a pot, and a pot is used for svedana purpose in this procedure and hence known as Kumbhisveda. A large pot is

taken and half of it is buried in the ground. Above this a cot is placed. This cot should have the surface made of rope and full of rent. Warm decoction is filled into the pot. Patient is made to lie down on the cot with his body draped with thick cloth. Then an iron ball is heated to red and dipped in the decoction in the pot. This generates steam and which passes across the patient lying on the cot. Thus this heat induces perspiration in the patient. This is the procedure of Kumbhisveda.


Here a pit of the size of a cot is made on the ground in an area where there is no breeze. This pit is known as kupa. This pit is filled with medicinal plants and then burnt. When it gets completely burnt as evident by red charcoal, and no smoke is coming out, a cot is placed over this rectangular pit. Once again the surface of the cot should be made of rope and should have full of rents. The patient is made to lie on the cot and his body is draped with a thick blanket. The heat from the pit reaching the patient on the cot induces perspiration. This is known as Kupasveda.


In an oven medicinal plants are burnt. When the heat is still radiating, a cot is placed over this oven. It should have plenty of rents on its surface. Patient is asked to lie on this cot and patient’s body is draped with a thick blanket. Perspiration can

be observed in the patient’s body when he is kept in this position. This is known as Holakasveda.

AcharyaSushruta and Vagbhata have classified svedana into four types. The same is elaborated below :


Heating the body parts refers to tapa sveda. Heated substances like, vessels of bronze containing hot water, sand, cloth etc is kept in contact with the body parts. These warm substances heat the body parts inducing perspiration. Mildest form of tapa sveda may be given by heating the palms by holding it in front of the fire, and then placing the palms on the body part where sudation has to be performed. Mild form of the tapa sveda is convenient in delicate patients like children.


The term ushma means steam. Application of heat by way of steam and there by inducing sweating is known as ushmasveda.


The process of inducing perspiration by applying warm paste of herbs on body parts is called as upanahasveda


Svedana procedure performed by pouring warm liquids on the body parts are known as dravasveda. Liquids like milk, oil, ghee, decoctions etc are heated to make it lukewarm and then continuously poured on the affected part.

Svedana Treatment Benificial For :

Svedana is beneficial both in healthy and diseased. When carried out in healthy persons it promotes the health. And in diseased persons it is useful as an independent therapeutic procedure or as a preparation of the patient prior to the shodhana procedure when planned. In the following diseases svedana is regarded as an effective treatment.

  • Prathishyaya             * Rhinitis
  • Kasa                             * Cough
  • Hikka                           * Hiccough
  • Shvasa                         * Dyspnoea
  • Anga-gaurava           * Heaviness of the body
  • Karnashula                * Ear ache
  • Manyashula              * Pain in the sides of the neck
  • Shirahshula               * Head ache
  • Svarabedha               * Hoarseness of voice
  • Galagraha                  * Stiffness of the throat
  • Ardita                          * facial paralysis
  • Ekangavata                * Monoplegia
  • Sarvangavata            * Quadriplegia
  • Pakshaghata             * Hemiparesis
  • Vinamaka                   * Disease characterised by bending of the body
  • Anaha                          * flatulence
  • Vibandha                     * Constipation
  • Shukraghata              * Lack of ejaculation
  • Jrimbha                       * Yawing
  • Parshwagraha           * Stiffness of sides of the body
  • Prishthagraha           * Stiffness of the back
  • Katigraha                    * Stiffness of the sacral region
  • Kukshigraha              * Stiffness of the sides of the abdomen
  • Hanugraha                 * Stiffness of the mandible.
  • Gridhrasi                    * Sciatica syndrome
  • Mutrakrichchhra     * Dysurea.
  • Mushkavriddhi         * Scrotal enlargement.
  • Angamarda                * Body ache.
  • Padarti                        * Painful feet.
  • Jangharti                    * Painful feet.
  • Uru-arti                      * Painful legs.
  • Pada-janu-                 * Stiffness of the leg
  • Janghaurugraha
  • Shotha                         * Edema.
  • Khalli                  * A disease due to the morbid vatadosha characterized by severe pain in the extremities like radicular pain.
  • Amadosha        * Accumulation of undigested food in the Gastrointestinal tract.
  • Shaitya              * Cold sensations.
  • Vepathu            * Tremors.
  • Vatakantaka    * Calcaneal spur.
  • Sankocha          * Contractures.
  • Ayasa                  * Fatigue.
  • Angastambha    * Stiffness of the body parts.
  • Supti                   * Numbness.
  • Nasya                 * Prior to the administration of errhine therapy.
  • Basti                   * Prior to the administration of therapeutic Enema.
  • Vamana             * Prior to the administration of therapeutic Emesis.
  • Virechana         * Prior to the administration of therapeutic Purgation.
  • Shalyapahrita  * Patient in whom shalya (foreign body) is Removed.
  • Prasuta              * Puerperal woman.
  • Mudhagarbha * Complicated labour.
  • Bhagandara     * Fistula in ano.
  • Arsha                 * Hemorrhoids and other illness producing projection of tissue in anus.
  • Ashmari             * Urolithiasis.
  • Arbuda              * Malignant tumor.
  • Granthi              * Benign swelling.
  • Adhyavata        * Peripheral ischaemic limb disease.


Svedana Therapy

  • Vatahara           * Svedana corrects the imbalances of vatadosha if any. The procedure is more effective in conjunction with snehana treatment.
  • Mardava           * Svedana reduces the stiffness and hence improves the flexibility of the body parts.
  • Agnidipti          * Svedana increases digestion as well as metabolism.
  • Tvak-mardava *By subjecting to svedana treatment skin becomes soft.
  • Tvak-prasada  * Svedana by improving the functioning leads to excellence of the dermis.
  • Bhakta-shraddha* Interest to consume the food is increased by the svedana treatment.
  • Srotasamnir-    * By way of inducing perspiration, svedana clears
  • Ma latvam           the body channels at all levels.
  • Nidram tan-     * Assvedana improves the activity of sense
  • Dram hanti          organs, and hence reduces sleep and drowsiness.
  • Sandhi-stabdham* Svedana relieves the stiffness in the joints and thus improves range of joint movement
  • Shulahara         * Svedana is an easy method to get quick relief from pain.


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