External use of water in the medical treatment of certain diseases.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is the use of water, either internally or externally, to maintain health and prevent disease. Although it was the Romans who introduced spas throughout the Roman empire, modern hydrotherapy is commonly attributed to Father Sebastian Kneipp (1821-97), who believed that water would ‘dissolve, remove and strengthen’. Dissolve matter-containing disease, remove diseased matter from the body and strengthen the body by restoring cleansed blood to the tissues and maximizing circulation.
There is no drug on the market that can rival the number of beneficial physiological effects that water is capable of producing, and it is widely available (unless you happen to be in a desert) and cheap. In fact, there are no substances known to man that possess as many remedial and health-promoting qualities as water. Its therapeutic qualities include sedative, antipyretic (reducing body temperature, anodyne (analgesic,), anticonvulsant, astringent, tonic, anaesthetic, and derivative.
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.
In the past, little controlled research had been carried out into hydrotherapy; and what little there had been done, was more often than not, conducted in Germany. However, in recent years some interesting studies have been carried out into the varied forms and applications of hydrotherapy in medicine.
Some Uses for Hydrotherapy
Relaxation: The buoyancy and temperature of the water during hydrotherapy can relax your muscles and connective tissue, which is important in rehabilitation.
Pain Relief: The warm water temperature and bubbling water provide a weightless rehabilitation environment. In this instance, hydrotherapy reduces the muscle stress and strain at the point of injury and throughout your body.
Analgesic Effect: Hot water in hydrotherapy can override pain impulses producing an analgesic effect. Reliving pain. Which you need in Rehabilitation.
Improves Sleep: Hydrotherapy promotes sleep. (National Sleep Foundation)
Recovery Time: Some studies report hydrotherapy improves your rehabilitation time.
Improves Circulation: Hydrotherapy increases blood flow throughout your body, which can help relieve and heal injuries.
Relieves Muscle Spasms: The increase of blood and oxygen through your blood stream during hydrotherapy reduces and relieves muscle spasms.
Reduces Inflammation: As blood flow increases and the blood vessels contract, you’ll experience relief allowing inflammation to decrease.
Increases Range of Motion: During hydrotherapy, your muscles simply relax increasing your range of motion. This is usually done in conjunction with some rehabilitation exercises. You can increase your range of motion by about 20% in 113 degrees F water.
Tissue Healing: Studies report hydrotherapy in heated water increases your metabolism multiplying white blood cells which aid in healing tissue damage.