People have used sweat rituals around the world for thousands of years to gain greater physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Like Carl Jung’s Concept of the Archetype, sweat practices continue to re-emerge in different forms. The activity gives the participant an intense physical and psychological experience, the power of which can and will continue to be harnessed for a multitude of purposes. Some have used the practice of sweating to heal illness, socialization, for exercise, to promote spirituality, or as an aid in meditation. Others have used sweat practices as a sexual aphrodisiac, to promote prostitution or as a manipulative tool to promote cult-like agendas. My work in developing Sweat Therapy in counseling psychology has focused on using this powerful technique to promote health, psychological healing, and human growth.
I wrote this book to educate people on the art of sweat rituals and provide guidance to, intelligently, make use of this ancient Traditional Medicine practice to improve well-being and prevent many long-term health problems. I see this book as useful to the conscientious individual wanting to incorporate a powerful health practice into their lifestyle, the avid sweat enthusiast wanting to broaden their understanding of sweat rituals, and the health professional considering using sweat therapy as part of their practice. When it comes to complementary and alternative health practices, it can often be difficult to separate fact from fiction and sweating is a prime example. My perspective is that of a licensed psychologist. My review of the effects of sweat rituals on Mind, Body & Spirit is grounded in the most current scientific research at the time of this writing. My firsthand experience contributing to this body of knowledge is included.
The organization of this book follows my Sweat Therapy Theoretical Model with three additional chapters: Creating Your Own Sweat Ritual, Building a Sauna, and Health Professionals Using Sweat Therapy. The Sweat Therapy Theoretical Model explains how sweat rituals operate to deliver positive effects to the mind, body, and spirit through five main factors: (a) Cultural Priming, (b) Exercise, (c) Self-Regulation, (d) Metaphorical & Contextual Elements, and (c) Interpersonal Factors. These factors and their subsystems interact in a reciprocal manner to produce these effects. This model not only explains how sweat rituals operate but also how many holistic practices work.
Lastly, I hope to convince readers that the effects of sweat rituals and the therapeutic factors that operate within them are anything but trivial and can make the difference between disease and health, misery and happiness. Available for Kindle here: