Sweat baths are a good way to cleanse your body. Your skin pores open and the sweat not only flushes out blocked pores, but it also carries away impurities from within your body. When I had access to a sweat bath, I would go straight from the hot sweat bath to a cold shower. I was imitating the Japanese practice of going from a sweat bath to a bank of snow.
Sweat baths were used extensively in Mesoamerica. Across the areas of Mesoamerica, from the Aztecs to Zapotecs, the indigenous people used sweat baths. The Maya were no exception and attached great significance mythologically to the sweat bath.
The Maya sweat bath represented an Old Goddess, a grandmother who both generates and destroys the living population. At the Classic Maya site of Xultun, Guatemala, one can find a unique sweat bath. The exterior of the sweat bath has a painted stucco figure displaying arms and legs made of amphibian and reptilian conflations. Inside the sweat bath was buried a cache of cane toads, iguanas, dead infant, and burned adult remains. The sweat bath at Xultun is unique because it displays religious associations surrounding the sweat bath, the strong link between the Old Goddess, aquatic realm, and the cyclical and transformative process of existence. The Maya saw the sweat bath as a cave were gods and humans emerged from, an entrance to the Underworld upon death, and a place of water and fertility.
Recently, Polish archeologists found a sweat bath at the site of Nakum in Guatemala. It is perfectly preserved and dates from 700-300 BCE. The Polish team has been working at Nakum for 12 years. They have uncovered graves, temples, palaces, residential buildings, and an untouched royal tomb.