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Health According to the Mayans


As more and more people have grown tired of the side effects caused by pharmaceutical medicines, holistic treatments have become a popular alternative. The importance of holistic treatments was known even in ancient times, so it is not surprising to find out that ancient civilizations have influenced holistic healthcare to this day. Here are a few things the Mayans can teach us about health and healing.

Holistic Healing

For the Mayans health was all about balance. Man was considered an integral part of the cosmos, and any imbalance would lead to illness.

To restore the balance, and therefore to cure the illness, the Mayans would focus on both the physical and spiritual aspects of well-beings. And that's a lesson that we should learn! Even though research has shown that emotional health is connected to and has an impact on physical health, today's medical system tends to focus on only one aspect.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds were a very important element of the Mayan diet. They were considered to be almost magical and were prized more than gold thanks to their ability to increase stamina and energy. Chia seeds have many recognized properties: rich in fibers and Omega-3 fatty acids, they help to reduce food cravings, help you stay hydrated, lower blood pressure and can also be used to relieve joint pain.


Mayans loved chocolate and consumed it regularly. They would first harvest the seeds, or beans from cacao trees, then roast and grind them into a paste. Mayans believed that the cacao bean had magical powers so it was used as a medicine. We now know that cacao is packed with antioxidants that can benefit both heart and brain health.

Sweat Baths

Archaeologists have uncovered sweat baths at Mayan sites including Tikal, Aguateca, Nakbe, and Piedras Negras. Mayans used saunas constructed out of stone to take sweat baths. Water was poured over the hot rocks to produce the steam that would make the patient sweat out the impurities. Seen as a way to purify oneself, sweat baths were thought to be particularly helpful for pregnant women, while Mayan rulers used them to perform ritual purification ceremonies to appease the gods


Mayans also believed in the healing properties of water and used herb baths to cleanse the body of a particular malady. Different herbs were used for different maladies, but generally speaking the herbs were mashed and salt was added to help release the oil.


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