Temazcal is a especial sweat bath with medical herbs that takes place in small constructions of cement or adobe called toritos. The name Temazcal, or temazcalli is made of two Nahuatl words, temas, which means bath, and calli, meaning house. At the time of the Conquest, they were found everywhere in almost all of central and southern Mexico. The Temazcal has come down to modern times, and on the basis of the knowledge so carefully preserved, the contemporary revival of this healing sweat bath has taken place.
The Temazcal not only involved the worship of a goddess, but it incorporated all the elements of the ancient cosmology, both in the manner of its construction and the way in which it is used; and most of these concepts have been preserved in traditional thought and practice down to our own day. The Temazcal is a microcosm reproducing in itself the characteristics of the universe, the macrocosm. So we find in the Temazcal all elements of the different eras or cycles (known as suns) throughout which, according to Aztec mythology, the world has passed and continues to pass: earth, wind, fire and water (we now live in the fifth ‘sun’) and through whose constant movement and life is manifest.
When we enter the Temazcal, according to this ancient doctrine, we return once again to our mother’s womb, presided over by the great goddess, Tonantzin or Temazcaltoci, the great mother of both gods and humans.
The practice of inducing sweat has long been known to be beneficial in sicknesses of the skin, liver and circulation, in problems of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, and other chronic diseases, as well as acute problems like muscular pains, colds and congestions, and sweat baths are but of the ways used to bring about healthful sweating. The Temazcal, because of its special methods, is perhaps the most effective of this kind of curative technique, certainly the list of conditions for which it has been used in the course of centuries is the most extensive.
The sauna, for example, reaches much higher temperature but the bath is drier and consequently, its curative capacities are lower. Other types of steam bath also combine heat and humidity, but the Temazcal surpasses them in effectiveness for two reasons: the person in charge of the bath can adjust -increase, diminish or direct- both heat and humidity to meet the specific needs of the patient he is treating, and the vapor is made from herbal teas, the herbs chosen for their effects on each individual patient.
There are some who feel uncomfortable at first with the reduced space and the heat inside the Temazcal. Usually a few deep and relaxing breaths will help to allay this initial reaction. Lying down also helps, in part because the floor is cooler than the upper parts and in part because the prone position helps to relax. It is the job of the Temazcalera to put bathers at ease, but it is strongly recommended that the Temazcal be a quiet place where one is drawn back into oneself.
Try our temazcal “Tonatzin” at Becari Campus QR St. We offer it with massage or jus the Temazcal. If you have any questions, you can contact Martha at firstname.lastname@example.org