The Temazcal, Ritual of Relaxation in Mexico

Temazcal is a word of Nahuatl origin formed by temaz – vapor and calli – house. It is an ancestral practice done inside a small hut build with rocks, blankets or animal skins. Volcanic stones are heated and placed inside, an infusion of medicinal plants is then poured over them. The diverse aromatic plants transpire their essence into the steam that is absorbed by the skin and inhaled, providing many health benefits for the body. There is a renewed interest for ancient therapeutic disciplines throughout the world. Mexico has rescued the temazcal, a shamanic ritual of great social prestige since prehispanic times. Although science has proved that some ancestral techniques could be harmful, temazcal enjoys great fame because it doesn’t produce any adverse second effects. There is evidence that humans have used vapor since prehistoric times. It is a practice that joins two important qualities: it saves water by using vapor collectively and therapeutic means not found in any other treatment. “Give me a way to induce fever and I will heal the illness”, Parménides the Greek used to say. Temazcal is a ritual that has been used for centuries for relaxation; it is considered the precursor of sauna baths. The vapor is handled by a guide that fans fresh plants while applying massages, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, chants and meditation exercises. The current uses of temazcal are similar to those in ancient Mexico. To experience a temazcal is not an everyday routine, but part of a beautiful ritual. Temazcal helps get rid of toxins, exfoliates and promotes good skin pH balance, important for protecting against skin infections. Vapor helps you sweat, relaxing and detoxifying the body; cleaning the respiratory system and revitalizing the nervous system. It cleans the nasal sinuses thanks to the effect of heat and the inhalation of aromatic vapors from healing plants. This achieves to relieve or attenuate cases of sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It is a cure for some headaches because it stimulates circulation and its relaxing effect mitigates cases of nervous unbalance. Prehispanic medicine is the knowledge of anatomy and herbs within a mystic dimension. Temazcal is understood as a space where the four elements of nature interact: air, water, earth and fire. It is a therapeutic space combining thermotherapy, phytotherapy and hydrotherapy, in addition to ritual and mystic experiences. Artículo Producido por el Equipo Editorial Explorando México. Copyright Explorando México, Todos los Derechos Reservados.