Ayurveda is the science of life and the most ancient science of holistic treatments for allowing the body to achieve a state of well-being.
This science dictates that the human body is composed of five basic elements called Panchamahabhutas: earth, water, fire, air, and ether. These constitute the symbiosis of the human body, mind, and spirit. When there is an imbalance in these constituents, physical ailments occur.
What is Valuka Sweda?
An effective holistic treatment in Ayurveda is Valuka Swedana, or Sweda. It is generally carried out after Abhyanga and Snehana treatments. Valuka translates to sand while Sweda translates to sweat-inducing.
In this therapy, heated sand is used to make painful body parts swell. This process is called fomentation. Valuka Sweda is most effective for conditions characterized by swelling, heaviness, and stiffness. It can be performed on a specific part of the body or the whole body itself.
What is Used in Valuka Sweda?
Since sand is the core component of this therapy, it needs to be chosen with caution. Generally, sand is cleaned by removing gravel, shells, pebbles, and thorns. After collecting, it is washed and dried. It is crucial to ensure that the sand is sterile. This sand is then heated in an iron vessel and tied in a potali, or bolus. The bolus is secured with a tight knot and a thread hanging from the top.
Caution should be exercised so that the sand does not overheat. When the temperature of the sand in the bolus drops, it’s time to replace it with another and continue the process.
How is Valuka Sweda Performed?
The bolus which contains heated sand is slowly rubbed against a specific (or whole) body part. There is no need to apply too much pressure or aggressive kneading movements. Valuka Sweda should be continued until the appropriate signs of sweating occur. The entire procedure takes up to 30 minutes.
Care should be taken to ensure the patient does not sweat too little or too much. After the procedure, a pain-relieving herbal powder called Rasnadi Choorna is applied and the patient is advised to rest for 30 minutes. A hot water bath is also recommended.
After the treatment, the rice is wiped gently away from the body using sterile tissues and cloths. Traditionally, the leaves of a coconut tree or castor plant can also be used to wipe off the remnants of rice.
A light massage is given once again after the procedure, followed by a hot water sponging and a hot water shower. A prescriptive course of purgative oils is administered on a daily basis over a period of time. Oils like Gandharvahastadi Kashayam, Gandharvahastadi Eranda taila, and Nimbamritadi Eranda taila can be used for this.
The patient is then advised to follow a proper lifestyle along with an appropriate diet to maintain a healthy life.
Valuka Sweda is considered an unparalleled treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. This therapy alleviates pain for those suffering from inflammation, stiffness, swelling, and pain. Specifically, it:
- Helps in pacifying vata and kapha doshas
- Cures joint pains and rheumatism
- Treats back pain and muscle stiffness
- Relieves muscle spasms and sprains
Benefits of Valuka Sweda
It is advisable to avoid Valuka Sweda for existing conditions such as hepatitis, gout, skin diseases, herpes, anaemia, diabetes, menstruation, pregnancy, alcoholism, blindness, and pitta predominance.