Hydrotherapy is the use of water, either internally or externally, to maintain health and prevent disease. According to its mineral content, water taken internally can have a laxative, diuretic, phlegmatic (phlegm producing) or diaphoretic (perspiration-inducing) effects. Used externally, water has the power to improve blood and lymph circulation, relax tension in the tissues, alleviate pain and calm the nervous system.
Common forms of hydrotherapy include:
1. Whirlpools, Jacuzzis, and hot tubs. These soaking tubs use jet streams to massage the body.
2. Pools and Hubbard tanks, Baths. Tepid baths are prescribed to reduce a fever. Adding Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) or Dead Sea salts to a bath can also promote relaxation and soothe rheumatism and arthritis.
3. Showers are often prescribed to stimulate the circulation. Water jets from a shower head are also used to massage sore muscle.
4. Cold compresses can reduce swelling and inflammation of an injury. They can also be used to cool a fever and treat a headache. Hot or warm compresses are useful for soothing muscle aches. Steam treatments and saunas Steam rooms and saunas are recommended to open the skin pores and cleanse the body of toxins. Steam inhalation is prescribed to treat respiratory infections. Adding botanicals to the steam bath can increase its therapeutic value
Internal hydrotherapy-Colon irrigation is an enema that is designed to cleanse the entire bowel. Douching, another form of internal hydrotherapy, directs a stream of water into the vagina for cleansing purposes.
BENEFITS OF HYDROTHERAPY: Hydrotherapy can soothe sore or inflamed muscles and joints, rehabilitate injured limbs, lower fevers, soothe headaches, promote relaxation, treat burns and frostbite, ease labor pains, and clear up skin problems. Hot water is chosen for its relaxing properties. It is also thought to stimulate the immune system. Cold water is selected to reduce inflammation. Alternating hot and cold water can stimulate the circulatory system and improve the immune system. Adding herbs and essential oils to water can enhance its therapeutic value. Steam is frequently used as a carrier for essential oils that are inhaled to treat respiratory problems.