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MEDITERRANEAN BATHS

Visiting the modern Hammam in Ankara and lstanbul
Early Greek and Roman Batths
Mass Bathing in the Balnea and Thermae
The Islamic Hammam is Born
The "'Turkish Bath" Visits Europe and
America
Private Sweat Bathing Cubicles

FINNISH SAUNA

A Visit in the Dead of Winter
History of the Nordic Bath
Sauna in Europe
Sauna in Japan
Sauna in America

NATIVE AMERICAN SWEAT LODGE

Joining Running Foot in a Navajo Sweat
Lodge

A Guest at an Oglala Sun Dance Ceremony
History of Sweat Lodges
Hot Rock Sweat Lodge
Direct Fire Sweat Lodge
Sweating Without a Sweat Lodge
Origin of the Temescal
The Temescal Today
The Sweat Lodge Joins the Modern World

 

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NATIVE AMERICAN SWEAT LODGE

Sweating Without a Sweat Lodge

©1997 Mikkel Aaland All Rights Reserved

Although other methods of therapeutic sweating are not within the scope of this work, I want to mention a couple of alternatives to the sweat lodge to show how important sweating is to the American Indians.

One method was steaming arms and legs as a cure for rheumatism. A hole was dug in the ground about the size of a kettle which was filled with water and medicinal herbs. Willow root was often used after a short boiling. The Midewiwns put the kettle into the hole. The patient sat alongside, laying his ailing limb, wrapped tightly in a blanket, over the kettle.

Another method was used chiefly for curing headaches. Dry herbs, often amixed variety of flowers, were placed on hot stones about the size of smallbowls. The patient's head and shoulders were hooded with a blanket, enclosing the stones, and the curative fumes were inhaled.\

Alexander Forbes describes a hot sand bath used by tribes in central California: "Preparing the temescal consists of scooping a trench in the sand, two feet wide, one foot deep and of a length proportionate to the size of the patient. A fire is then made through the whole extent of it, as well as upon the sand which was dug out of the hollow. When the hole is thoroughly heated, the fire is removed and the sand stirred about, that the warmth may be equally diffuse. The sick person is then stripped, laid down in the trench, and covered up to his chin with heated sand. In this position, a very profuse sweat soon breaks out, which gradually diminishes as the sand cools. The patient then rises and bathes in the sea or nearest river. This process is repeated until a complete cure is obtained."

 

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