Simply, it is using water to revitalize and restore health.
Hydrotherapy is the use of water to revitalize, maintain, and restore health. When we think of hydrotherapy, we typically envision whirlpools, spas, hot tubs, saunas, steam baths, foot baths and hot water compresses. Water healing is one of the oldest, least expensive and safest ways to treat many ailments.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy: Increased Flexibility • Reduced Stress • Improved Circulation • RelaxationYou know how you feel after soaking in a tub of hot water. Add the whirlpool, the jets (DTS) and it is perfect after a stress filled day.
Father Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th century Bavarian monk, is said to be the father of hydrotherapy. He began treating his parishioners with water applications after he himself was cured of tuberculosis through the same methods. Kneipp wrote extensively on the subject, and opened a series of hydrotherapy clinics known as the Kneipp clinics. His treatments included cold rinses, water stepping, hot and cold half and full baths, contrast baths as well as hot and cold wet packs and compresses.
There is a physiological basis to hydrotherapy. Cold is stimulating, and it causes superficial blood vessels to constrict, shunting the blood to internal organs. Hot water is relaxing, causes blood vessels to dilate, and removes wastes from body tissues. Switching between hot can cold water also improves elimination, decreases inflammation, and stimulates circulation.
Typical Hydrotherapy Treatment
Hydrotherapy treatments are often given at exclusive health spas or in the privacy of your own home - your own spa. These are some types of hydrotherapy:
- Sitz bath - Take two nearby tubs of water, one hot and one cold. Sit in one tub with your feet in the other tub, and then switch. Sitz baths are recommended for PMS, cystitus, polyps, hemorrhoids, and menstrual problems.
- Whirlpools and hot tubs. These tubs use jet streams to massage the body and are frequently used by physical therapists to help injured patients regain muscle strength and to soothe joint and muscle pain. Some midwives and obstetricians also approve of the use of hot tubs to soothe the pain of labor. The best hot tub treatment is a spa with complete circular water motion (as opposed to bubbling or pulsating stationary jets).
- Warm water baths - Soak in warm water for up to 30 minutes, depending on the condition. Epsom salts, mineral mud, aromatherapy oils, ginger, and dead sea salts may be added.
- Sauna - Dry heat
- Steam bath or Turkish bath
- Compresses - Towels are soaked in hot and/or cold water.
- Wraps - Cold wet flannel sheets are used to cover the a person lying down. The person is then covered with dry towels and then blankets. The body warms up in response and dries to wet sheets. This is used for colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, infection, and muscle pain.
- Wet sock treatment - Used for sore throat, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.