Hydrotherapy

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How can Hydrotherapy help you?

Hydrotherapy, or Water Therapy, is a complementary therapy that uses water for health purposes. Depending on the industry and use, some may also refer to the treatments as Aquatic Therapy, Water Therapy, or Hydropathy.

There are many uses for different types of hydrotherapy, including treating joint pain with water exercises and easing muscle stress with cold or hot showers or baths. (Medical News Today, US)

Advocates for Hydrotherapy say that hot and cold water induce physiologic changes that are beneficial to human health. Among them:

  • Hot water causes superficial blood vessels to dilate, activating sweat glands, loosening joints, and removing toxic wastes from tissues.

  • Cold water causes superficial blood vessels to constrict, moving blood flow away from an affected area to relieve inflammation.

Immersing the body in water is said to relieve joint pain and muscle injury by counteracting gravity and reducing pressure on a joint or the body as a whole. (Health I Know)
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Overview

From Roman baths to hot mineral springs, cultures around the world have used water for centuries to treat a variety of health concerns.

Father Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th-century Bavarian monk, is widely regarded as the father of modern Hydrotherapy. Kneipp’s use of alternating hot and cold water, called Contrast Hydrotherapy, is still used today. Hydrotherapy is the use of water, both internally and externally, and at varying temperatures, for health purposes. Also known as Water Therapy or ‘water cures,’ Hydrotherapy includes such therapeutic treatments as saunas, steam baths, foot baths, contrast therapy, sitz baths, and colonic cleansing.
 
There are different appliances used to deliver Hydrotherapy, including full-body immersion tanks, body-specific tubs, whirlpool baths, and cold and hot water wraps (compresses). (Verywell health, New York) .

Hydrotherapy involves the use of water to treat various conditions, such as arthritis, rheumatic complaints, and other ailments. Although it resembles swimming, it is different because it requires you to do different exercises in a warm pool of water. The water temperature in the pool is approximately 33–36ºC. This water is much warmer than what you will encounter in a normal swimming pool.

Hydrotherapy treatment is usually conducted in a hospital’s physiotherapy department. A Physiotherapist who has specialized training administers the exercises. You’ll often find other movement health practitioners can also administer these specialist treatments.

Hydrotherapy relies on its mechanical and thermal effects, in order to induce healing. It takes advantage of the body’s reaction to cold or hot stimuli, the pressure exerted by water, and the protracted application of heat as well as the sensation of the water. These sensations and effects are then carried deeper into the skin by nerves. 

When this happens, these sensations stimulate the immune system, thus influencing the release of stress hormones, while improving digestion, circulation, and blood flow, as well as reducing the body’s sensitivity to pain. In most circumstances, heat is used to soothe and quiet the body, while slowing down the activity of internal organs. 

On the other hand, cold is used to invigorate and stimulate, thus increasing the body’s internal activity. Therefore, if you are suffering from anxiety and tense muscles, you should bathe with hot water. If you are feeling stressed out and tired, you should shower with hot water, followed by a short cold shower. This stimulates the mind and body. 

When you are submerged in water like a pool or a bath, you experience some kind of weightlessness. During this period, the water relieves the body of gravity’s effects. In addition, water induces a hydrostatic effect, as well as a massage-like feeling, as it kneads your body. Moving water stimulates the skin’s touch receptors. This effect increases blood circulation while releasing tight muscles. (Live Well Rehab, Australia)

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat a disease or to maintain health. The theory behind it is that water has many properties that give it the ability to heal:

  • Water can store and carry heat and energy.
  • Water can dissolve other substances, such as minerals and salts.
  • Water cannot hurt you, even if you are sensitive to your surroundings.
  • Water is found in different forms, such as ice, liquid, or steam. Ice may be used to cool, liquid is used in baths and compresses at varying pressures or temperatures, and steam is used in steam baths or when breathing in.
  • Water can help blood flow.
  • Water has a soothing, calming, and relaxing effect on people, whether in a bath, shower, spray, or compress.
  • Exercise in water takes the weight off a painful joint while also providing resistance.

What is Hydrotherapy used for?

People use hydrotherapy to treat many illnesses and conditions, including:

  • Acne
  • Arthritis
  • Colds
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Joint, Muscle, and Nerve problems
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Stress.

People also use it for relaxation and to maintain health. You can also use hydrotherapy to reduce or relieve sudden or long-lasting pain.

Is Hydrotherapy safe?

Hydrotherapy is generally safe if treatment is done properly. Different people may respond differently to the length and intensity of treatment. Some people may have headaches, aches and pains, sleep problems, nausea, chilliness, and faintness.

It is important to discuss your physical condition and medical history with your Doctor or other qualified Medical Practitioner before trying Hydrotherapy.

Explore the Research

We believe you should have access to high-quality research to help you make informed health decisions. Below are four trusted databases you can use as tools to expand your healthcare knowledge.