Health & Fitness

Mexican Healing Traditions

Have you tried a temazcal or obsidian treatment yet? Refresh, renew and regenerate with these therapies based on ancient practices

The Temazcal

The temazcal, a type of pre-Hispanic steam bath, is indigenous to the people of Mesoamerica. It is a combination of both a therapeutic treatment of detoxification and a spiritual, healing ritual of rebirth. The origins of the term ‘temazcal’ stem from the Nahuatl word temāzcalli  (house of heat), or from the Aztec teme (to bathe) and calli (house). The domed structure is made from mortar and stone and is a symbol of Mother Nature’s womb. Steam is created by pouring herb-infused water over hot rocks in a central pit. The temazcal ceremony is said to purify the body and the spirit with this sacred steam. A temazcalero(a), a shaman and therapist, leads the practice of this ancient healing therapy and elevates it to a more spiritual experience. The shaman will incorporate the four elements; water – symbolizing blood, fluids and emotions, earth – physical matter and the human body, air – the herb-infused aromatic steam symbolic of breath and energy, fire – the embodiment of the spirit via the hot volcanic stones.


Obsidian is a volcanic glass naturally formed when molten lava cools rapidly. In plentiful supply, it is found in the volcanic regions of the Sierra Madre Mountains that run through Mexico and Guatemala. Obsidian, called itztli in the Nahuatl language, was historically formed into a variety of tools and used in hunting, agriculture, food preparation and many other activities. Obsidian was also used in a variety of ritualistic and decorative contexts such as jewelry, art, carvings, masks and offerings to Maya gods. Obsidian is said to be an excellent aid in releasing negativity. Releasing negativity can aid physical, emotional and spiritual health. Obsidian is a strong psychic protection stone that resonates with the base or root chakra associated with grounding. Heated obsidian stones are used in harmony with massage therapy techniques to soothe aching muscles and relieve tension. The combination of the healing properties of the stone, massage movements and heat deliver a spa experience that cleanses the spirit and energizes the body and mind.


Sara Jones

Spa, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert, Spa Consultant and Founder of Spa & Wellness MexiCaribe magazine

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