Physiological effects of Hot oil massage and Steam in Ayurveda
Hot oil massage followed by herbal steam is a classical Ayurvedic treatment to bring Vata dosha back to equilibrium and restore vitality of the body and mind. Vata is one of the three doshas and is composed of subtle space and air elements. It is commonly called Vayu or wind. This dosha is governing all movement functions in the body as well as responsible for causing tension, stress and anxiety. This dosha is cold, rough and dry in quality. Therefore, according to one of the main principles of Ayurveda, using opposite qualities such as hot and oily will pacify and balance vata. The treatment itself intails a full body hot oil massage followed by steam tent application, where your head remains outside and unheated.
Svedana or sweating is therapeutic, but so too are the other physiological effects of steam therapy. Dramatic effects derive from the circulatory changes caused by the intense heat exposure. The heart rate can increase as much as 50% to 75% during a 10-20 minute steam bath session. Within just a few minutes there is an increase of cardiac output, increased blood flow to the skin produced by vasodilation, and decreased blood flow to the internal organs. The increased blood flow brings vital nutrients to skin and subcutaneous tissue, stimulating cellular activity and growth. The parts of the skin that normally suffer from poor circulation benefit especially from this treatment, since the increased blood flow supplies it with extra nutrients and oxygen. Any increase in the metabolic rate burns calories, improves circulation, promotes water-weight loss, and beautifies skin. The special herbs help to stimulate oxygen flow throughout the body, while the steam activates the natural sweating process, which is essential for releasing accumulated toxins. Your skin will carry the gentle sweet aroma of the herbs throughout the following 24 hours or so. This process helps to restore unbalanced Dosha back to their natural state (especially Vata and Kapha doshas).
How the Body Detoxifies
Because of its role in the elimination of toxins the skin is sometimes referred to as the third kidney. The heat of a steam bath speeds up the chemical processes in the body, making steam therapy one of the simplest and most comfortable ways to eliminate accumulated toxins. As the pores open up, the millions of sweat glands start to excrete, and the body detoxifies itself of metabolic and other waste products. This also helps to reduce fluid retention. Perspiration allows excretion of toxins and impurities through the skin, helping the kidneys and liver to detoxify the blood.
How Steam Helps Beautify Skin
The skin has more than 2 million endocrine glands respond to rising body temperatures by excreting sweat to cool the skin and the blood in the skins capillary vessels. According to Dr. J. Perasalo of the Finnish Student Health Service in Helsinki, sweat emulsifies the fat of the sebaceous glands far more effectively than water and cleans them of sebum and the bacterial flora they usually contain. The keratin in the outer layers of the skin macerates and softens with extended contact with moisture. The skin becomes softer and more hydrated creating an optimum condition for the absorption of creams, herbs and essential oils.
Looking forward to see you in my amazing steam tent!
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