Now researchers have focused attention on exploring the mechanism of acute responses of heat stress given in heat therapy that ultimately promotes the long term health benefits. Heat therapy is not a new idea rather it was practiced since thousands years back in the form of hot bath, sauna bath, steam room. Similarly in Ayurveda there is very comprehensive description of heat therapy in the form of Svedan karma (Sudation therapy). Svedan is a process to induce sweating artificially in a patient who had already undergone Snehan. Svedan is applied for purification of body, as well as in management of various disorders originated due to vitiation of Vata, Kapha Dosha, Meda Dhatu and musculoskeletal disorders. It produces various beneficial effects by augmenting the Agni like clears the channels, liquefies the deposited Dosha, regulates Vata Dosha, helps in removal and pacification of Dosha, augments metabolism (Agni Deepan), increases appetite, flexibility in body parts, softness and shining of skin, removes coldness, stiffness, drowsiness, improves joint motility.
However, Svedana karma is vastly used by Ayurveda Physicians in treatment of various disorders but the mechanisms of beneficial effects produced by Svedan Karma are yet not completely explored on scientific basis. In this article, we will discuss and try to establish a possible mechanism of action of Svedana karma in relation to heat stress, mitochondrial adaptation, heat shock protein (HSP) and glucocorticoids as these are secreted under stressful conditions.