Different types of hydrotherapy treatments can offer great benefits. The practice has roots that date back to the 1800s, when Father Sebastian Kneipp proposed that water could remove disease and toxins from the body. Hot springs and mineral springs are prime examples of hydrotherapy techniques.
A number of different cultures have practiced using water to promote health and wellbeing, whether using springs, steam or cold presses. The notion that water has healing properties dates back well before the 19th century and there is good reason that people made the connection.
Hot and Cold
The process typically involves heat and cold, aspects that are commonly seen in many different forms of alternative and complementary medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine and stone massage. Alternating hot and cold is a usual practice in hydrotherapy.
Warmth is naturally relaxing, and it promotes circulation by dilating the blood vessels. The improved circulation is conducive to waste removal as well as improved oxygen levels to the cells.
Cold, on the other hand, makes surface blood vessels constrict. This makes the vessels move blood away from the surface and toward the organs in the body. The colder temperature is stimulating in nature, in contrast to its warm, relaxing counterpart.
Hydrotherapy approaches typically alternate cold and hot water to maximize the effects of the extreme temperatures. The effect is comparable to massaging the blood vessels as they expand and contract. In addition, the process helps to relieve inflammation.
Types of Hydrotherapy Treatments
The sitz bath is an excellent example of a hydrotherapy treatment that uses hot and cold water. There are two baths present, one filled with hot water and the other with cold. The client sits in one and places her feet in the other, alternating baths after a few minutes.
While steam baths use steam instead of water, they use considerable warmth and moisture. Saunas focus primarily on heat rather than water, but the atmosphere helps cleanse the body through sweat.
Hot and cold compresses are simple to use and involve little more than applying hot or cold towels to specific areas.
Cold wraps involve using wet sheets made out of flannel to cover the client. Dry towels and blankets are placed on top of the cold sheets. Gradually, the body warms the sheets.
Warm baths are often infused with elements like aromatherapy oil, Epson salt, ginger or Dead Sea salt. Some use mineral mud or moor mud in their baths.
Hot fomentation is commonly used when a person needs relief from a cold or cough. The approach uses hot compresses on the chest area and cold compresses on the forehead to relieve symptoms of colds or coughs.
Other hydrotherapy treatments are available to promote health and some are available to treat acute illnesses and complaints. Water is a natural option that can have excellent results with little or no side effects. However, it is always advisable to seek guidance from a physician if you are considering any hydrotherapy treatments.
July 8th, 2009
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