If you travel to Mexico to get to know the Mexican culture, you will probably hear about it. And you will put a pocker face. What is that of the temazcal? What is the origin of this speciesfrom this thousand-year-old Turkish bath? And its benefits? Does it have anything to do with natural medicine? Relax, we tell you everything.
The temazcal, a sauna to the “Mexican culture”
Where does your name come from:
temazcal where it comes fromThe word temazcalli comes from Nahuatl which means: theme , “vapor”, and calli , “house”. So it can be translated as “steam bath house”.
What is it for:
Mexican culture today its most common use is for therapeutic / aesthetic purposes, in its origins the temazcal function was hygienic, religious. And therapeutic, and also had a high ritual content. In fact, most of the temazcales remains have been found within ceremonial centers of archaeological sites, in several points of Mexico and Guatemala. Such as Palenque, Chichen Itza, Piedras Negras, Agua Tibia or Teotihuacan; and located near the “ball games”. So it is assumed that these steam baths could be related to them.
What does it consist of:
The temazcal practice, which has certain similarities with the Finnish baths, has reached us thanks to the oral tradition of the indigenous communities. Its ultimate goal is the purification of the body and the mind. This is achieved by causing the sweat of the body by means of medicinal vapors, which have a double function, on the one hand the perspiration itself. And on the other, the inhalation of steam. The person responsible for directing the ceremony (known as temazcalero, healer or sweat) uses a bouquet of fresh leaves to steer and steer the steam. While guiding the course of the ritual with songs, visualizations, meditations, group dynamics Mexican culture.
Where it is done:
The temazcal ceremony is celebrated in different types of buildings, but usually they are exterior constructions similar to an igloo with low. And dark ceilings, built in stone, brick or adobe. Steam is produced by the contact of medicinal herbal infusions with red hot porous stones (originally also made with small pieces of pottery). Depending on the effect sought, different plant mixtures will be made.
Are there different types of temazcal?
There are different typologies of temazcal that vary, not only because of their geographical location. But also how and by whom, the attendees and the objectives pursued. Do not miss it, if you visit the Riviera Maya, stay at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination hotel. And ask your concierge where to experience a true temazcal. Some end up with a bath in a cenote.
- Social: it is practiced in a group, focusing on the medicinal aspects of steam. Seeking relaxation and purification of the body and mind.
- Ceremonial: goes one step further, encompassing besides the physical and mental aspects, also the cultural ones. It delves into its symbolic roots, through the celebration of a ritual, in which a dance is performed towards the four cardinal points.
- Curative : in this type of temazcal, more private, only the healer and the patient participate. Since what is intended is to cure a specific disease or ailment. Therefore, the composition of the medicinal waters, the steam temperature or the techniques will be different in each case.
- Guerrero : in this case what is trying to strengthen is the mind and spirit. It is the hardest and tests the physical and mental resistance and self-control, since the temperatures are very high.
Which has benefits?
As we have already said, the Mexican culture first function of the temazcal is to purify the body. The kidney purifies in a session what normally takes whole days and the body eliminates around a liter of sweat. Which is equivalent, approximately, to a kilo of toxins (uric acid, urea, sodium chloride …). It also contributes to the elimination of heavy metals and to balance the acid-alkaline pH of the blood. It also stimulates the lymphatic system. Tones, cleanses the skin and cleanses the respiratory tract, being highly recommended to treat bone and muscle problems.