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Hydrotherapy is the use of cold, ice, hot or steam water to relieve pain and to promote physical wellbeing. It is a holistic and health-orientated philosophy that dates back to ancient times, with a very long history relating to the therapeutic use of water. Hydrotherapy can be administered both externally and internally and involves the use of water in the treatment of various illness and conditions, inclusive of arthritis, rheumatic complaints, digestion problems and other ailments.
Generally speaking, Hydrotherapy takes advantage of the body’s reaction to hot or cold interaction, the presence of water, as well as the prolonged application of a specific temperature. These sensations are able to reach internally through the body’s nerves, giving these specific sensations the ability to positively influence the body’s immunity. This in turn reduces and controls the release of stress hormones, improves blood flow, circulation and digestion and most profoundly, the effects of hydrotherapy have been linked to reducing the body’s sensitivity to pain. This is groundbreaking for people who have experienced intense and prolonged pain.
Internal and External Hydrotherapy:
There are two different types of Hydrotherapy, which fall under the headings of external and internal. External Hydrotherapy is the most common form of Hydrotherapy and involves complete body immersion in water or an external compression, such as a block of ice to a specific injured area of the body. Most commonly external Hydrotherapy is undertaken in a heated pool. Not to be confused with swimming, the patient or client is required to undertake specific exercises that help to relieve, strengthen and to create flexibility, which is made therapeutic by the warm water.
This kind of Hydrotherapy uses the feeling of being totally immersed in water as its therapeutic basis. This feeling can be described as a complete weightlessness or a total lack of gravity with an increased sensation of buoyancy, giving the patient a new sense of mobility and physical freedom.
As well as the feeling of water immersion, external Hydrotherapy also relies on the temperature of the water to heal the body. External heat is often used to loosen and relax muscles for patients who are suffering from intense body pains, arthritis, rheumatism and poor circulation and the results of such therapy on these ailments has been profound.
Cold water Hydrotherapy is often used to treat such things as fevers, colds, headaches and sprains, through the use of an ice-cold compression to a certain part of the body. Cold baths are also used to treat hemoroids and prostate swelling. External Hydrotherapy can be administered in many forms including pool water therapy, footbaths, saunas, and even hot and cold showers.
Internal Hydrotherapy involves the use of water within the body, for example enemas and colonic irrigation, both of which use water to cleanse and detoxify the colon. Colonic therapy completely flushes the entire colon and is a very thorough way to detoxify the large intestine and the stomach.
Other examples of internal Hydrotherapy are that of steam baths and saunas. Steam baths are very good for cardiovascular health, opening up sinus tracks and reducing stress. Saunas have been linked to improvements in serious diseases such as high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, congestive heart failure and Alzheimer’s disease.
Both forms of Hydrotherapy treatment rely on the mechanical and thermal effects of water to induce the desired type of healing. The basic rule of thumb is that heat helps to soothe and quiet the body, with the ambition of slowing down the activity of internal organs and muscles, whereas cold is used to stimulate and rejuvenate, increasing internal activity within the body while replenishing muscles.
The Benefits of Hydrotherapy:
Broadly speaking, Hydrotherapy is a very effective holistic method of treating long-lasting pain. The therapy boosts the body’s immune system, which therefore enhances its efficiency in fighting against disease and illness while also stimulating the body’s blood supply to various organs. Unlike medications for pain or other various illness’, Hydrotherapy does not have any major side affects, which also opens up the opportunity for patients to limit their prescribed medication intake. Continuous Hydrotherapy can also prolong or even help to completely avoid major surgeries.
It is known that pain and stress can lead to an over exertion within the body, with such chemical changes causing an increase in pulse rate and blood pressure. With regular Hydrotherapy treatment, the patient will continuously reduce these symptoms by relieving and relaxing painful, swollen joints while also slowing down the process of stress or pain reaction.
Hydrotherapy is also very effective in promoting skin health and has been used to treat cases of acne. Sweating is a fantastic way for the body to relieve itself of toxins that are trapped under the skin. Steam rooms and saunas are great for speeding up the detoxification process. They are also amazing for relieving stress and anxiety as it helps to release those “feel good” Endorphins. Steam rooms have also been linked to decreasing the body’s levels of Cortisol, the hormone released when the body is stressed.
Hydrotherapy is most effective and life changing for people who are experiencing body pain. When the body is engrossed in warm water, the muscular spasms that are most commonly related to aches and pains eases, while blood is pushed to circulate the painful area, increasing comfort, as well as the healing process. Hydrotherapy also helps to strengthen muscles, giving the body the opportunity to be able to heal on its own by strengthening what has been weakened.
Hydrotherapy is an innovative and therapeutic form of rehabilitation and exercise. The benefits of the therapy are far reaching and anyone can be involved. Not only is it used to cure life-changing ailments; it is also fantastic for flexibility, general fitness as well as physical and emotional wellbeing. Hydrotherapy will work towards healing your body of aches and pains, which will significantly relieve stress and discomfort within your life.