By the Caribbean Journal staff
It might be one of the rarest spa treatments in the Caribbean — and among the most powerful.
It’s Viceroy Riviera Maya’s Temazcal Ritual, now offered in a larger and improved sweat lodge.
The treatment, which includes fresh medicinal herbs and a “temazcalero,” has been used in one form or another since Pre-Columbian times.
“From the cleansing Copal incense and stirring Mayan chanting to the herb-infused healing steam inside our igloo-like traditional sweat lodge, the Temazcal Ritual is a restorative and awakening experience unlike any other,” said General Manager Pedro Lara. “Each time you participate the benefits are greater and your realization of the benefits accelerates.”
Mexicans have used the temazcal sweat lodge to alleviate a host of problems, from colds or congested lungs to spiritual rebalance.
And the hotel’s 90-minute ritual begins with a Mayan chant, then performs a cleansing ceremony.
Smoke from burning Copal incense is passed over you “to purify you and thank the Four Points of the Earth in helping you find your center and achieve balance,” according to the hotel.
“Participants then enter the temazcal one by one forming a circle around the rock pit. Once the door is closed, the initial few minutes inside is a time of personal meditation, perhaps to reflect upon what you are thankful for or what you want to add into your life as the ritual takes you down the path of a new beginning,” the property says.
Hot stones with rosemary, mint and rue are then placed in the rock pit – four times during the approximately one hour inside the temazcal, representing the four elements of water, earth, air and fire. Hot water, infused with the same medicinal herbs, is poured over the heated stones to create steam.
Throughout the ritual, the temazcalero chants and sings, and herb tea and fruit are offered to prevent dehydration. At the end of the ritual, participants depart with a sense of calmness, renewal, and energy restoration.
The treatment is believed to cleanse the respiratory and digestive tracts, tone the skin, reduce stress, improve blood circulation, assist in weight control, calm pre-menstrual cramps, and aid post-partum, muscular and osteopathic pain.
And it is said to induce a heightened state of relaxation.
The cost is $360 for two people.