Here’s Everything You Wanted To Know About Hydrotherapy

In an age when alternative therapies and medications are catching up, people are looking for non-invasive healing techniques. Among the trending and popular alternative therapies, Hydrotherapy is quite a famous one. As the name specifies, this therapy makes use of water, at different temperatures, commonly available at saunas for restoring health. It includes hot and cold showers, steam baths, foot baths etc.

Origin of Hydrotherapy

There has been a history of using water for treatment. Roman baths and Turkish hammams are quite famous; and so are hot mineral springs. Several civilizations and cultures around the world have had a history of using water for several health benefits. However, a 19th-century Bavarian monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp is considered the Father of Modern Hydrotherapy. His technique of using hot and cold water alternately (contrast hydrotherapy) is still popular today. Hydrotherapy is extremely popular in Europe as well as Asia, with people preferring hot mineral springs for their therapeutic properties.

How Does Hydrotherapy Work?

Varying water temperature can be used to treat various ailments including different types of arthritis, pain etc. When cold water is used, it causes the superficial blood vessels to shrink resulting in the movement of blood away from the body surface to organs. Hot water, on the other hand, causes dilation of blood vessels and activates the sweat glands. This results in the removal of toxins and wastes from the body. Using alternating hot and cold water can result in the reduction of inflammation apart from stimulating circulation and lymphatic drainage.

Types of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is of different types and can be done at home, in spa or health centers. The different types of Hydrotherapy include:

    1. Turkish bath – These involve steam rooms that are filled with humid air. Steam helps in releasing the toxins from the body and removes impurities which can cause diseases.
    2. Sauna – In this case, the dry and warm air assists the body in sweating thereby releasing toxins.
    3. Watsu – This involves aquatic massage, wherein a therapist massages you while you are floating in a warm water pool.
    4. Warm water bath – Epsom salt, dead sea salt, mineral mud, moor mud, ginger or aromatherapy oils are added to warm water and you soak yourself in it for 30 minutes.
    5. Sitz bath – There are two adjacent tubs, one filled with cold water, another with hot. You sit in one tub with your feet in the other and then reverse is done. This is especially helpful in the case of hemorrhoids, premenstrual (PMS) and menstrual problems.
    6. Compress – Hot and cold compresses are done using towels. These are placed on specific areas of the body. This is especially helpful in reducing stiffness and sore muscles by promoting blood flow (hot compress). A cool compress is generally used to reduce swelling or inflammation.
    7. Hot fomentation – Hot water bottles are used to treat cold and chest congestion. Not only does it provide relief from the problem, it also reduces the duration of the illness.
    8. Wraps – Instead of using towels, this process involves flannel sheets. You are required to lie down and cold sheets are used to wrap the body, followed by dry towels and eventually blankets. As the body warms up, it dries the wet sheets. This process is helpful for treating skin disorders, muscle pain, and colds.
    9. Warming socks – This unique therapy involves putting on a pair of wet socks on your feet and putting on a pair of dry wool socks over them. Go to bed wearing these and remove them in the morning. The cold, wet socks help in improving circulation and reducing upper body congestion.
    10. Contrast hydrotherapy – Alternating between cold and hot temperatures is what this Hydrotherapy is all about. After taking the shower, turn the temperature to as cold as you can bear it and turn it off completely after 30 sec. People also alternate between warm and cold water for 3 cycles, ending with cold water.
    11. Hydrotherapy pool exercise – This involves exercising in a warm water pool as it offers very little resistance. This therapy is extremely beneficial for arthritis, back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. While water aerobics is fast, Hydrotherapy exercises are slow and done under the guidance of a physiotherapist.

Benefits Of Hydrotherapy

There are several potential health benefits associated with Hydrotherapy. It has been used to reduce pain in several musculoskeletal disorders including:

    • Osteoarthritis: Scientific research carried out has found evidence that knee osteoarthritis patients undergoing aquatic exercise two times a week had reduced pain and improved function compared to those that didn’t. Aquatic exercise has also been found to show short-term improvement in pain and disability in people suffering from knee or hip osteoarthritis. This improved their quality of life.
    • Neuromuscular recovery: This is a common problem faced by people playing sports. Opting for cold water immersion and contrast water therapy improves the chances of neuromuscular recovery and fatigue 24 hours after sports.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: When Hydrotherapy is used in combination with drugs with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, the results were better. The group receiving Hydrotherapy had an improvement in oxidative stress and antioxidant levels.
    • Other disorders: Patients suffering from stroke, paralysis, spasticity, burns, spinal cord injuries, ankylosing spondylitis etc. have found relief using Hydrotherapy. They have regained strength and flexibility while reducing muscular pain using this alternative healing method.

What Precautions Must Be Taken While Undergoing Hydrotherapy?

more therapy : Physiotherapy

Before opting for Hydrotherapy, it is important that you discuss this with your primary health care provider. This is essential because despite several benefits associated with Hydrotherapy, there are certain circumstances where it should not be used. These include:

  • In case of fever
  • During pregnancy
  • Reduced sensitivity to hot and/or cold water
  • In case of inflammation
  • Patients suffering from kidney disease
  • Cancer patients
  • For patients suffering from cardiovascular disorders such as hypertension etc. (increased blood flow might put additional stress on heart)

However, it must be kept in mind that Hydrotherapy cannot be a substitute for standard care and medication for treatment of any disease. Additionally, some patients might experience fatigue, pain, muscle soreness, cramps in feet and calf muscles after undergoing Hydrotherapy session.

If you are looking for the best Hydrotherapist in Faridabad, your search end here, as we have a solution to all your therapy needs. You can call us to book an appointment or get your queries answered by our expert team.

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