Conceptually, the temazcal represents the cosmos, the earth, nature, and each human being. It is something that connects us, where energy flows.
Not only is it a steam bath, but the temazcal tradition has a much deeper meaning. It is a time when we acknowledge the outer Universe and align our inner Universe with it. It is a process of reconnection with Mother Earth and a way to purify ourselves.
The four cardinal points, the four seasons, our four extremities… everything is connected and the temazcal is a ritual that reminds us of it. By entering the temazcal, you are conceptually entering the womb of nature and cleansing yourself of impurities. Thus, its semicircular shape simulates a pregnancy.
In addition to its incredible spiritual meaning, the temazcal has endless healing properties:
- The temazcal deeply benefits the skin. Being this one is the organ that regulates the body’s temperature, the stimulation of healthy sweating eliminates toxins and purifies the pores. The high temperatures of the temazcal are perfect for people who live in polluted environments, such as large cities, to renew their skin and strengthen it.
- It is also an excellent stimulant for the respiratory system, preventing problems such as colds, bronchitis, asthma, or sinusitis. The medicinal steam that is breathed inside the enclosure uncovers the airways and increases blood flow, expelling toxins accumulated in the lungs and bronchi.
- Likewise, by stimulating blood flow and increased heart rate, the vessels dilate and the circulatory system is fortified, which facilitates the expulsion of toxins and lowers cholesterol. This technique is excellent for those who suffer from medical conditions related to circulatory deficiencies.
- The nervous system is also benefited since the ritual is deeply relaxing. This reduces stress, insomnia, tension, and many other problems that we often experience in the busy day-to-day.
- The temazcal improves intestinal activity, reinforcing digestion and eliminating unnecessary liquids and fats. It also prevents muscle problems such as sprains, bumps, or strains.
- Finally, for those who are new mothers or soon-to-be, this technique is essential. Pre-Hispanic midwives used it as a preventive and curative means related to childbirth. In the past, pregnant women used to be bathed in the temazcal, allowing the womb to expand to facilitate labor.
The temazcal is truly one of the most transcendental Mexica medicinal techniques and a ritual worthy of admiration for its contributions to health.