We use water for all kinds of things. First, water is extremely important for sustained life. You have to drink water to live. We also use water for bathing, cleaning, and dozens of other things. However, water can also use used to make us feel better. Hydrotherapy is one of the ways that water can improve your health.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is the use of water for health purposes. While this definition seems overly simplistic, there are so many different things that qualify as hydrotherapy. For example, water can be used both internally and externally at varying temperatures to provide health benefits. Some of the most common forms of hydrotherapy include steam baths, saunas, contrast therapy, and water therapy.
While hydrotherapy can be traced back to Ancient Roman times, Father Sebastian Kneipp is considered the father of modern hydrotherapy. The 19th-century Bavarian monk used alternating hot and cold water (now called contrast therapy).
Types of Hydrotherapy
There are dozens of different kinds of hydrotherapy options, but some of the most common include:
·Watsu:Aquatic massage is done while the patient floats in a warm water pool.
·Sitz bath: This technique involves two tubs of water. One tub is filled with warm water and the other with cool water. You start by sitting in one tub with your feet in the other tub. After a few minutes, you reverse the position of your body and place your body and feet in the opposite tubs. These bathes are often recommended for hemorrhoids, premenstrual syndrome, and menstruation problems.
·Steam bath/Turkish bath: Steam rooms are filled with warm, humid air. The patient sits in the room to allow the steam to release impurities from the body.
·Warm water baths: Warm water baths can be sat in for up to 30 minutes. In some cases, mineral mud, Epsom salts, , ginger, and dead sea salts are added. Hot tub owners often do this to help them relax and heal.
·Sauna:Patients sit in a warm, dry room to sweat.
·Compresses: Towels are soaked in water (either warm or cold) and placed on a particular area of the body. Warm water compresses are used to promote blood flow and help soothe stiff, sore muscles. Cold water compresses reduce swelling and inflammation.
·Wraps: The patient lies down and cold, wet flannel sheets are wrapped around the body. On top of the wet sheets, dry towels and blankets cover the body. The body starts to heat up and eventually dries the wet sheets. Wrap therapy is used for skin disorders, muscle pain, and colds.
·Contrast hydrotherapy: At the end of a warm shower, drop the temperature down to a cool level that you can comfortably tolerate. After 30 seconds, turn off the water. You can alternate between the warm and cool water for up to three cycles, but you should always end with cool water.
·Warming socks: Wet a pair of cotton socks, wring them out, and put them on your feet. Cover the wet socks with a pair of dry wool socks before bed. In the morning, you can take both pairs of socks off. This treatment is said to improve circulation and help with upper body congestion.
·Hydrotherapy pool exercises: Patients exercise in a warm-water pool to offer gentle resistance. This type of exercise is good for people with arthritis, back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions. These exercises are slow and controlled under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy has been used for a variety of different purposes. Some of the most common include:
·Osteoarthritis:People with osteoarthritis may see reduced pain and increased function after taking part in aquatic exercise sessions.
·Athletic Recovery: Cold water immersion and contrast water therapy have both been used to help with sports recovery. Cold water immersion has been known to be beneficial for neuromuscular recovery and fatigue.
·Rheumatoid Arthritis: Hydrotherapy along with conventional medications can help reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Using Your Hot Tub for Hydrotherapy
A warm soak in a hot tub is another form of hydrotherapy. Spending a few minutes in the hot tub can relieve pain and ease muscle and joint soreness. Massaging jets and warm water can help loosen muscles and ease pain. In fact, research has also shown that hydrotherapy sessions in a hot tub can help with immunity, high cholesterol, heart disease, anxiety, fatigue, and obesity. Hot tubs have also been proven to be an effective stress management tool for many people.
Before you start using your hot tub for hydrotherapy purposes, you should speak to your doctor. Talking to your doctor beforehand can ensure that you are doing what is best for your body.