Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of disease. The use of water for therapy has been around for hundreds of years, as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, and forms an integral part in many traditional medicine systems. Learn why it is so beneficial for your health.
How Does Hydrotherapy Work?
The healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its mechanical and/or thermal effects. It makes use of the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli, to the protracted application of heat, to the pressure exerted by the water, and to the sensation of the water itself. Nerves carry what is felt by the skin deeper into the body, where it is then vital in stimulating the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, improving circulation and digestion, encouraging the flow of blood, and lessening the body’s sensitivity to pain
External hydrotherapy involves the immersion of the body in water or the application of water or ice to the body, while temperature-based hydrotherapy involve the different effects of hot or cold water on the skin and underlying tissues. Hot water relaxes muscles and causes sweating, and is used to treat arthritis, rheumatism, poor circulation, and sore muscles. It can be used in combination with aromatherapy. Cold water hydrotherapy is used to stimulate blood flow in the skin and underlying muscles. Temperature based treatments include the application of moist heat or cold to specific parts of the body. The application of moist heat is called fomentation, and is used for conditions such as chest cold, flu, or arthritis. Cold compresses or ice packs are used for sprains, headaches, or dental surgery. Body packs are used to calm psychiatric patients and for detoxification.
Conditions Helped by Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is used to treat many illnesses and conditions including:
joint, muscle, and nerve problems
It is also commonly used for relaxation and to maintain a person’s state of health. Hydrotherapy is also excellent for reducing or relieving sudden or long-lasting pain.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
The benefits of hydrotherapy include:
dramatically increasing the elimination of waste, thus assisting detoxification
loosening tense, tight muscles and encouraging relaxation
increasing the metabolic rate and digestion activity
hydrating the cells, improving skin and muscle tone
boosting the immune system, allowing it to function more efficiently
improving the function of the internal organs by stimulating their blood supply