Thursday, 22 May 2014

Svedana- Sudation

Svedana in Vedic Age

There has been attempts dealing with various methods to avert pain ever since mankind was civilised. Fomentation and Sudation are ancient methods to ward off pain or at least lessen the suffering due to pain.Application of heat by various methods at a diseased site or th
Sudation according to Ayurveda is subdivided to four:

  •  Taapa (Application of dry heat)
  • Upanaaha (Poultice, Stupe)
  • Uushma (Steam fomentation)
  • Drava (Heat transmitted through liquids)
Sudation or fomentation induces a thermal challenge in the body, the event is a thermal discomfort, a thermal eustress. This heat precipitates a decrease in cardiac output which sends messages to medullary cerebro vascular control centre which in turn effect muscle and skin vasoconstriction.  This increases the internal circulation by which the cardiac output is optimised. Thermal comfort rests primarily upon the following six factors- Air velocity, Air humidity, Mean radiant heat, Metabolism, Insulation and Air temperature. These thermal comfort factors are individually or severally manipulated by svedana to effect thermal eustress.

The primary requirement of Svedana (Sudation) is to alleviate pain and stiffness. However, in practice, both Snehana by external means and Svedana are employed together in conjunction with light to firm massage in procedures like Abhyanga, Elakizhi etc. Sneha-Sweda is employed in tandem  with massage in diverse conditions.

Swedana can also be considered as a means of removing toxins from the body, the entire wastes to be eliminated may be divided to two: Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble, by resorting to sudation water soluble wastes of the body (especially in Amavastha) are dissolved in water (Extra cellular body fluids), propelled by the heat and brought to the nearest port of elimination. In the process of elimination of water soluble wastes, the role of unction is much less appreciated. On the contrary, unction may be detromental as it may prevent dissolution of water-soluble wastes. In the case of fat-soluble wastes on the other hand, Sneha dissolves the wastes in fat medium, these are again propelled by sweda to the nearest port of elimination. Dissolution of wastes and toxins in fat is slower, hence it is not a once-for-all programme and has to be repeated daily till the desired effects are achieved. This is another reason for the therapeutic strategy of 7-14 and 21 days in the Abhyanga and Poultice massage practices.

Accurate scientific data regarding the analgesic effect of massage when done along with Sneha and Sveda are still lacking. Nevertheless, ongoing studies with regards to the pain pathways, neurotransmitters like Substance-P, and Glutamate, Analgesia pathway, Gate control theory (Projected by Patrick Wall Gate et al., 1965) and its subsequent implications in the release of endogenous pain relievers etc, are to be revisited in the backdrop of massage with Sneha-Sveda. The efficiency of human skin as the most sensitive 'Touch Screen' working by 'Touch-flow softwares' is a million times more sophisticated than the present day 'Resistive' and 'Capacitive' touch screens or 'Displax Skin' screens involving the most advanced nano-wire technology on polymer films.

Compiled from Ashtanga Hrudaya 
(Comments Dr. TSK)

No comments:

Post a Comment