Svedana : The concept and clinical utility

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Svedana : The concept and clinical utility

Sveda is considered to be one amongst trimalas and is the mala bhaga produced during the metabolism of medodhatu. This sveda is responsible for the sustenance of the body in normalcy.
The process of inducing sweat througlh various procedures is known as svedana. It is one amongst shadvidopakrama. Classics explain that the procedure which eliminates stambha, gourava and sheeta is considered as svedana. In other words the procedure which induces or generates heat inside the body is considered as svedana.
Ayurvedic texts give us sufficient explanations to understand svedana in terms of its multifold classifications such as sagni and niragnisveda, snigdha and ruksha, ekanga and sarvanga, mrudu, madhyama and mahan sveda. Svedana karma and svedala dravyas have predominance of tejomahabhuta. Hence ushnaguna is held responsible for the production of svedana. (Svedane ushna, hemadri) To achieve svedana we may utilize dravyas as simple as ushna jala, ushna sadana or ushna veerya-dravya. For the selection of different dravyas the nature of the doshas are considered before administering svedana. Since ushnaguna is mandatory for the production of svedana, as pitta dosha is ushna by nature and the diseases predominating with pitta dosha are contraindicated for svedana.

Classification of Svedana
As surya tapa (rays of sun) and agni tapa (direct contact with agni) can also produce heat in the body, the classification of svedana is done on the basis of with or without the contact of agni. Hence Charaka has classified 13 sagnisvedas and 10 niragnisvedas. 4 types of svedas ane highlighted by Sushrutha such as Tapa, Ushma, Upanaha and Drava which includes all 13 types of sveda told by charaka The predominance of mahabhuta in Tapa sveda is tejas and prithwi. In Ushmasveda tejas and vayu, in Dravasveda tejas and ap mahabhuta All the 3 states of matter such as solid, liquid and gas are utilized to achieve svedana.
1. Tapa sveda
Tapa sveda includes those varieties of sveda wherein dry heat is used to induce sweat. Hence the intensity of heat is more in tapa sveda. This can even be experienced from the heat strokes produced during summer season in jangalapradesha. Tapasveda is considered as shleshmaghna. Hence Valukasveda can be utilized as Rukshasankarasveda. This is best utilized in case of samakapha vyadhis.
Diseases wherein valukasveda is indicated in classics are Amavata and Trikashula. (Bhavaprakasha Uttarardha). Valuka sveda is also practiced as a pottali sveda wherein the pottali prepared out of valuka is soaked in kanjika and svedana is carried out. It is found to be beneficial in Padasupthi, Pindikodwestana, Roma harsha etc.
Tapa sveda is found to be beneficial wherever there is more kleda in the body. Materials as simple as hasta tala, vastra etc and parthiva dravyas like sikata, pashana, lavana can also be utilized. Lavana sveda is indicated in sama vata conditions. Hasta tala or pani tapa sveda is indicated in adhmana.

2. Ushma sveda:
Bashpa is the resultant of drava sprinkled on inert substances (Ushmo bashpa). Vapours or bashpa is emitted when the drava dravyas are boiled to its boiling point. Such vapours when coming in contact with patient's skin produce svedana effect This kind of Ushma sveda can be utilized as shodhananga an shamananga sveda. Prior to Panchavidha shodhana, Ushma sveda is used. This is considered as shodhananga sveda. Shodhsveda helps to mobilize the leena dosha and then move from trividharogamarga to koshta. Thereby specific shodhana can be administered through asannamarga. It is considered as shamana sveda when svedana is done as pradhana karma.
For the purpose of dosha shamana, Ushma sveda is also administered in ashukari avasthas of vata vyadhi. As Sushrutha explains that when vata causes severe pain in vata vyadhi due to ashukaritwa guna, sveda is the ideal and effective treatment. This principle can be implied in samavastha of gridhrasi wherein patient finds instantaneous relief after administering Ruksha nadi sveda Hence rukshasveda is considered as Shamananga sveda in the management of samavastha of gridhrasi (acute IVDP cases).
In hikka and shwasa, Nadisveda in the form of ushmasveda is administered after anointing the chest with tila taila mixed with saindhava lavana. This helps in the liquefaction of grathita shleshma in Pranavaha srotas thus removing srotosanga.
When the patient is suffering from vatavyadhis like ardita, nadi sveda prepared with dashamula kwatha is ideal after covering the eyes with eye pads. This helps in reducing the pain in Ardita.

3. Drava sveda :
Liquid substances are heated and utilized to induce svedana in drava sveda. Here drugs which are as simple as hot water and others like milk kashayas, dhanyamla etc., are utilized to achieve the effect of svedana. Drava sveda comprises of Parisheka and Avagaha sveda. This is indicated in Pittasamsrista vata or kapha vyadhis. This is practiced as snigdha as well as ruksha variety. This helps to drain off the ushmata thereby reducing the symptoms of exacerbation of pitta dosha. In sama pitta avasthas, ruksha drava sveda is ideal, whereas, in niramaavastha of pitta dosha, snigdha drava sveda is ideal. Snigdha refers to the utility of drava sveda after abhyanga and also snigdhadrava dravyas like tailas or ghrithas are utilized. Rukshadrava sveda refers to the use of kashayas or dhanyamlas without prior abhyanga. Seka is beneficial as vatahara, shramaghna, in cases of fractures for fastest healing. In case of kshata, burns etc we can utilize different shodhana and ropana kashayas.
Utility of drava sveda in the form of dashamula ksheera is ideal in uttana or bahya vatarakta which relieves the pain instantaneously. In cases of dushta vrana, triphala kwatha parisheka is beneficial as shodhana.
Sushrutha highlights the dhatuvriddhi effect of dravasveda with a simile such as "Just like watering the root of a tree brings the tender off shoots in the tree, in the same manner dhatuvriddhi can be the outcome of snigdha parisheka". In conditions of dhatukshaya we can utilize ksheerabala taila for sarvanga kaya seka which is also considered as Pizhichil in Kerala.
Immersing the body below the neck region in a droni or immersing a part of the body in specialized drava dravyas is considered as avagaha svedana. This can also be adopted in arshas and bhagandara Sarvangaavagaha is beneficial in dhatukshaya-janya vatavyadhi.
If dhara is required with sneha dravyas then alternate days are ideal since there is a chance of agnimandhya in such cases. Dhara also depends on strength of an individual. If patient is having good strength then dhara can be done on a daily basis. If patient has moderate strength then a gap of 2 to 3 days is necessary. If the patient is weak then a gap of 3 to 5 days is required. If dhara is done with ksheera then fresh milk is used daily if dhanyamladhara is done then we can change the liquid once in 3 days.

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