Sweating in a Hot Sauna, Sauna Baths or Sweat Lodge

sweat lodgeThese are all methods of inducing the body to expel toxins through sweat glands. A valuable part of any health regime.

Of course many cultures have discovered and used sweating as a way of cleansing. Many people these days use a hot sauna to represent the pole & skin lodge used in traditional native American ceremonies. This rejuvenating process which releases poisons and toxins out of the body is said to be powerfully uplifting for our spirit.

Sweating through the ages

sauna bathsThe benefits of sweating are well known and historically they have been used buy culture for generations. The Roman Empire built sauna baths in every township that they conquered or established. These sauna baths all contained a sudatorium, which was a vaulted room closed to fresh air, where heat from fires would pass through tunnels in the walls, made from circular terracotta tiles. The  concamerata sudatio as penned by the great architect Vitruvius was part of the Roman Empire’s gift to civilization.

What happens to our bodies when sweating occurs

All mammals sweat, the primary function of sweating in human beings is to regulate temperature in their bodies. It is said that when we sweat we also release pheromones which stimulate cues in other humans. These cues range from disgust to sexual arousal and the affects can not be easily measured because of changes in the body.

Most sweat is a fluid containing chemicals, odorants and urea and is excreted from the pores in your skin, often in areas that have an abundance of glandular function like the under arm or crotch area.

Sweating is of vital importance to any health regime. The evaporation of sweat has a cooling effect to the body. In Summer months when muscles heat up as we find ourselves more active, more sweat is created. When we are less active in Winter we produce less sweat as we need to warm up not cool off.

Nervousness is said to cause sweating, and sweating has creeped into our vocabulary of slang used in modern culture. The police will sweat the criminal during interrogation. The sky diver had a close call and was sweating while he tried to open his chute. Or the university student sweating the results of an examination that was taken.

Many animals like dogs regulate their thermal system by panting, this helps to evaporate the excess water being extruded through the mouth. As animals like dogs have fur coats sweating is not a viable option. However, in the case of animals such as horses or primates the fact that they have armpits like humans allow for  body temperature control through sweating.

When we have a fever we often sweat, as the core temperature of the body has increased to such levels that relief is needed. Through the process of sweating many toxins can be released not just through the skin but internally into the urinary tract and the colon. The act of sweating causes a purging process to occur.

Is sweating good or bad?

Overall sweating is good for us and our health, when people sweat their circulation gets better. This is because their heart is beating faster, pumping harder, lung capacity is improved because of heavier breathing and the metabolism increases in speed and intensity. When we exercise this occurs naturally and the toxins are removed more readily due to the increases in circulation.

The benefits to the skin are well recognised and clean pores mean less pimples and other blemishes. When we sweat our pores open up and toxins are released through the skin. In addition this action is highly beneficial to the immune system because of the increased generation of white blood cells associated with sweating.

The relief of fatigue in the muscles is also associated with sweating. When you heat up the muscles your release stress, it is that simple. Sweating adds to a multitude of functions in the human body. Bottom line is that sweating is good for you and your body. Just to recap, sweating assists :

  • Cleansing
  • Toxin Removal
  • Skin Cleansing
  • Circulation
  • Heart Rate
  • Metabolism
  • Calorie Burn
  • Immune System
  • Stress & Muscle Tension Relief

The Sweat Lodge

Purification ceremonies called oenikika, which means “ the breath of life”.
A very hot breath in the case of the sweat lodge or hot sauna were part of a renewal process that integrated  the spiritual and physical. During traditional ceremonies which are rarely practiced in modern times commitments would be made by the younger members of the tribe to the older wiser members. Favors of divine gratification would be requested and not always given.

The ceremonial leaders were often called the medicine man. This person would be a spirits incarnate body on earth. One made available to the person requesting the audience for communication with the world of the gods and one that worked within an invisible universe to provide order and keep the ceremony moving in the direction of self awareness and the healing process that was occurring within the patient.

For more free information about the spiritual aspects of the Native American Sweat lodges go to www.healingtipi.com