Hydrotherapy makes use of steam, ice, water, cold or hot temperature to maintain and restore health. It forms a part of the self-care program and can be used to treat a wide range of conditions at home.
Some of the uses of Hydrotherapy are:
- The pain and swelling due to burns and soft tissue injuries can be reduced with the application of cold or hot water or water soaked compresses and for the disabled, physical therapy performed in water is a common treatment.
- To rid the body of toxins, hot fomentation and constitutional hydrotherapy is used.
- It also reduces tension and is beneficial for spastics and stiffened joints.
- In alternative medicine they find use in treating anxiety, attention deficit disorder, bladder and kidney infections, cancer, depression, digestive problems, ear infections, fractures, high fever, migraine, multiple sclerosis and prostatitis.
Types Of Hydrotherapy Treatment And Procedure
- Constitutional Hydrotherapy: Here hot and cold wet towels are applied systematically turn wise, and then mild electrical current is used to stimulate muscle groups. Then the body is wiped with a dry towel. Each session ranges from 45 minutes to one hour. As many as 15 sessions maybe recommended for adults and for children it is lesser.
- Hot Fomentation: These treatments are similar to constitutional hydrotherapy except the use of electrical simulator. Herbs maybe added to the hot water in the towels, and used on specific regions of the body to relieve menstrual cramps or premenstrual syndrome. Each session is about an hour long. Depending on the illness, session may be held once a week or more frequently.
- Other Hot/Cold Treatments: To relieve symptoms of a cough, the patient is made to stand under a hot shower for sometime then he dries himself off. Then he wears a T-Shirt that has been soaked in ice water and has been wrung. He covers it with a sweater and goes to bed under several layers of blanket. Children are made to wear dry warm socks on top of cold moist socks.
- Aquatic Physical Therapy: Procedures include immersion in a whirlpool bath and movement therapy in a swimming pool. It is recommended for patients to whom physical therapy outside water causes pain.
- Watsu: The therapist holds, stretches, tosses or floats the patients through the water in a specific sequence of movements.
What Are The Benefits Of Hydrotherapy?
- Constitutional Hydrotherapy: This system detoxifies the body and balances it. It boosts the body’s ability to fight infection and disease. It also improves body’s circulation, metabolism, promotes production of enzymes and helps re-establish normal neurological functions.
- Hot Fomentation: They help to relieve fever and destroys bacteria, virus and cancer cells.
- Aquatic Physical Therapy: It improves circulation of blood and reduces fluid build-up and swelling in the legs. It reduces pain of a compression injury in a joint on the spine and also helps patients achieve a more efficient heart rate.
- Watsu: It relieves tension and stiffness.
Who Should Avoid Hydrotherapy?
- People suffering from bleeding disorder, asthma, weak heart, kidney disease or an organ transplant and elderly people should avoid hot/cold treatments constitutional hydrotherapy and hot fomentation.
- People suffering from loss of sensation in a part of a body, people with pacemakers and metal implants should avoid constitutional hydrotherapy.
- Aquatic physical therapy and watsu should be avoided by people who have difficulty breathing in water, have inner ear problems, acute orthopedic injury or unstable joint, disorder of the spine and multiple sclerosis.
- If you have head injuries, avoid watsu.