America,  Mexico,  TDM,  Travel Journal

Temazcal Purification Ceremony in Oaxaca (Mexico): Our Impressions

When I asked about Oaxaca, several people told me about the Temazcal ceremony before concluding: visiting Oaxaca without participating in a Temazcal ceremony is like not having been there. It’s like going to Japan without going to the onsen. It’s a ceremony that is well known to the indigenous people, and since we are in the state of Oaxaca, where many indigenous people still live, the probability of finding one is higher.

So we contacted ASAP one of the best places on the outskirts of Oaxaca: CEVIAREM TEMAZCAL OAXACA to book a private session for two. The session lasts more or less an hour and costs 1700MXN for two (I took the option with the aromatic bath). In addition, there is a 250MXN round trip cab fare from the city center, arranged by them, on request.

When we arrived on the spot, the shaman was preparing the “oven”. So we talk with his wife (in English), who quickly explains the preparation before the ceremony: she brings us a hot tea, which she advises us to drink, even if it is very hot outside – drinking hot tea when it is hot isn’t the ideal combination, but it will serve us later. She also shows us the changing rooms, toilets etc.

The shaman is finally ready, and tells us to change our clothes. We are both in bathing suits and we enter a “furnace” which has the shape of a hut. We sit down on small chairs placed at our disposal and the shaman starts to close the door. The air is a little bit hot inside, we aren’t in total darkness but almost. He begins to explain to us in details (always in English) what the ceremony consists in.

To our right are heated stones. On our left there are 2 bathtubs filled with fresh water and herbs. Opposite, there is the shaman, his bottles, his herbs, his potions … The whole is about 2m². He explains us that during the first minutes, it is necessary to breathe if possible by mouth. Once the body is accustomed to the heat, we can breathe through the nose. And he pours mezcal on the hot stones. A soft warmth invades the space.

The shaman explains to us that we aren’t in a sauna. Each time he pours something on the stones, the heat rise lasts only 1 to 3 minutes. No more. The sauna that we are used to make detoxifies the pores. While the temazcal will go to the bones, and we will have the impression to be reborn while going out here. It is a ceremony formerly reserved only for kings and queens. The shaman encourages us to undress completely, if we wish, to feel more comfortable. Personally, I always prefer to keep my swimsuit 😀

This will be followed by 3 steps: 1st step: physical cleansing; 2nd step: emotional/psychic cleansing; 3rd step: spiritual cleansing/connection

For physical cleansing: we must spread on the body natural products (orange juice, then a mix of guava fruit juice, copal tree juice ( which I told you about here) …) then use basil (which smells divinely good) to make us an exfoliation. Each time we put something on the body, there is 1 to 2 minutes of heat, created by the mezcal or water spilled on the hot stones.

The ground is cool so when the heat becomes unbearable, I sit on the floor. The shaman explains to us and reminds us every 5 minutes that this experience isn’t meant to make us suffer, but to do good. So if we suffer from the heat, we must either sit on the floor, or ask for some fresh water, or drink water, or even go outside if necessary.

For emotional cleansing: you have to get into the bath, full of cold water. Well, I’m hot, but to be able to get into it, it took me a few seconds before I made up my mind. The purpose of this exercise is to forget your fears and anxieties. Then, we get out of the bath, we spread a lot of other liquids (mezcal, juice…) that smell divinely good. But it is forbidden to drink or eat any lol 😀 Each time, water is poured again on the hot stones to create heat and for all these mixtures to soak through our pores.

For cleansing and spiritual connection with our ancestors and the gods: the shape of the hut resembles a mother’s belly, that’s why some people go there naked and the shaman speaks of “rebirth”. The shaman pours hot aromatic water into the bath to reach about 40°C. One must put oneself in it, and whip the skin with basil. Meanwhile, he sings and plays the drum. The heat makes me very weak. I get out of the bath and lie down on the floor. As I lie on the floor, the vibrations created by the music invade me, I cry hot tears without knowing why, and I feel like I have released all the tensions in me. I’m not in a trance either, I really didn’t see anything with this music, but it touched me and made me feel lighter. Then I go back to the hot bath and that’s how the ceremony ends as well.

We can stay there for a long time, but I feel like going out and taking a deep breath.

We could have rinsed ourselves with (cold) water but it is advisable to let the aromatic water soak in a little more, and take a shower rather in the evening when we come back home.

They let us rest on the hammocks. Even if we did nothing, we feel completely exhausted. The lady tells us that our body will now tell us what we need. JB needs to sleep terribly for the next few days – while I will spend my time eating and drinking 😀 ahahha


I really enjoyed the ceremony. I sincerely believe that not only were there benefits to the body (toxins eliminated), but it was also a moment of complete letting go. We didn’t know what the ceremony consisted of and it was a very pleasant moment, between the warmth of the hut, the smell of the herbs, the beautiful music and this feeling of relaxation. I strongly recommend that you try it at least once during your trip to Mexico.

The premises go there almost once a week, even twice a month. The hut we had was the smallest, but there are larger huts that can accommodate a whole group. The ceremonies vary according to the shaman. There are some that require you to go naked, if you feel uncomfortable, ask the question before participating in the ceremony.

To participate in the same ceremony as us, simplycontact CEVIAREM TEMAZCAL OAXACA on Facebook

Other articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *