- Friday, March 1, 2013, 0:00
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A small, dome-shaped building with a wood-burning oven, the temazcal – meaning “house of vapor” in the Náhuatl language – is a Mesoamerican sauna dating back to pre-Columbian times. Remains of early temazcales can be found at the archaeological site of Piedras Negras, Guatemala. In indigenous cultures, the structure of the temazcal represents the womb, and is considered a nurturing and spiritual refuge which is used in many rituals from birth to death. It is also revered for its healing powers and has been known to help weight control, arthritis, and muscular and osteopathic conditions, as well as improve respiration, digestion, relaxation, skin tone, and circulation.