The temazcal is a steam bath that has been used extensively in Mesoamerica for millennia, for therapeutic, hygienic and ritual purposes. The word “temazcal“ comes from the Nahuatl temazcalli and means “steam house” (temaz - steam, calli - house). Heat, steam and sweat bring about a body purification well known to ancient cultures. In the tradition of the temazcal, this purification is not limited to the body but also encompasses the spiritual. The symbolism of the temazcal structure and oral tradition reflect the connection between body, spirit, and nature.
In itself, the temazcal represents the land that gives us life and sustains us. When one enters the temazcal, it is said that one is entering the womb of Mother Earth and that is why the temazcal has the shape of a dome.
Due to its curative characteristics, it is an effective method to stimulate all internal organs, cleaning our body, sweating large amounts of toxins accumulated by medications or by our own diet, since we currently face many problems of contamination. These are some of its physical benefits:
The temazcal promotes the relaxation of the muscular system, since it relieves contractions thanks to the effects of temperature and the volatile oils of the plants that are used.
By means of the high temperature and the boiling of fresh water, a high degree of movement is achieved in the circulatory system, helping to correct varicose veins, varicose ulcers, numbness of the hands and feet, high or low blood pressure and other circulatory problems.
It improves the immune system, since it increases the production of leukocytes (white blood cells) in the body. It has been observed that people who take these sweat baths and who suffer from chronic or recurrent diseases do not suffer from the symptoms as much or, if they get sick, they recover more easily.
Facilitates detoxification of the body. In the temazcal, a person can detoxify everything necessary to purify her body via sweat: uric acid, skin problems (acne), burn fat and skin impurities, cure arthritis, among others. In addition, by sweating, the proper functioning of the kidney is favored.
Stimulates the regeneration of the skin. Temazcal temperatures exceed, in some cases, 50 degrees. The pores are reactivated, which facilitates the formation of the acid mantle, vital for the protection of skin infections.
Cleans and decongests the nasal and paranasal channels. Steam baths are used to treat flu, bronchitis, asthma, and sinusitis. Due to the heat, inhalotherapy is given, which occurs with the steam added to the smoke and the oils of the healing plants deposited on the stones during the ceremony. Airway clearance occurs automatically. It also activates irrigation in an impressive way, becoming seven times greater. There is increased blood flow, which added to the expansion of the lungs and bronchi facilitates the expulsion of accumulated toxins. It is possible to greatly alleviate cases of sinusitis, colds, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other pulmonary problems.
Temazcal produces a relaxing effect that is ideal for dealing with problems such as stress, insomnia and nervous tension, all this without producing adverse reactions. It acts on a psychological level, allowing a better understanding of their emotional questions and personal problems.
When the Spanish arrived in America, they sought to eliminate this practice, considering it in bad taste and even demonic. However, the temazcal has remained alive thanks to the native groups in Mexico that have managed to preserve it, and so today we can share it with the world and, better yet, continue to enjoy it for our health.