By Dr. Matthew Marturano, ND Friday, August 24, 2012
Water has long been used for its healing benefits. The use of water for restoring health is known as hydrotherapy, and is now widely used in specific areas of medicine including physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
There's an extensive range of therapeutic treatments that utilize the various physical properties of water in order to promote healing. These physical properties include pressure and temperature and can be used to treat the symptoms of certain illnesses, to stimulate blood circulation and to improve one’s state of mind.
Hydrotherapy Treatments by Naturopathic Professionals
Blood is the vehicle that delivers oxygen, nutrients and other important components to the all areas of your body. Therefore, a person’s health is strongly affected by blood circulation and the quality of the blood that’s flowing through the tissues in their body. Through hydrotherapy, professional naturopaths are able to improve normal blood flow and to improve the quality of the circulating blood in order to optimize the overall health of a patient.
The basic method for applying hydrotherapy is to use hot or cold compresses. Health and wellness professionals who offer hydrotherapy understand there are six primary treatment factors essential when applying hydrotherapy techniques. These factors include temperature, location, pressure and timing. Wetness and the material used over the compress are also important factors. The hot or cold compress is applied to certain areas of the body depending on the health condition that's being treated or on the overall health goals of the patient. Various compress methods are used to improve circulation and to treat specific circulatory problems such as hemorrhoids, varicose veins and Raynaud’s disease. Hydrotherapy can also be used to treat digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and dyspepsia. A number of immune disorders and respiratory problems can be minimized or alleviated with hydrotherapy.
Colon hydrotherapy is an alternative form of medical treatment that’s designed to remove toxins from the digestive system. The procedure is intended to improve digestive and colon function, while also improving overall health. During this form of hydrotherapy treatment, the colon is flushed with warm water via a rubber tube that’s inserted through the patient’s rectum. In this way, the treatment is similar to an enema. Colon hydrotherapy should only be given by a trained professional.
Benefitting from Hydrotherapy at Home
It’s not important to spend a fortune at medical clinics, spas, or other places that offer hydrotherapy in order to benefit from this amazing form of healing treatment. There are many inexpensive and easy ways to benefit from the healing effects of water from the comfort of your own home.
As long as you have a bathtub and/or shower, many hydrotherapy treatments are available. For these applications, it's best to use water that's been filtered or distilled in order to reduce the amount of chlorine and fluorine present in the water.
Respiratory Problems: Hot baths or showers can be used to treat respiratory problems. Inhaling steam from a pot of hot water can also be very helpful. Hot compresses applied to the chest are also helpful in relieving respiratory problems.
Pain: Hot baths or showers can also be used to alleviate muscle or joint pain. Try adding one half cup of Epsom salt into a warm bath to alleviate sore and aching muscles. Alternating hot and cold compresses assist in healing muscle injuries or sprains. For acute injuries, always start with a cold application. Use hot applications for pain relief after the first 72 hours. If you suffer from migraines, taking a cold shower, or even rinsing with cold can reduce the risk of developing a migraine. It can also improve migraine symptoms once they have started.
Fatigue and Stress: Cold baths or showers are fantastic for reducing fatigue and promoting vitality. For individuals who suffer from chronic stress and anxiety, an herbal bath that includes ingredients such as chamomile flowers and dried orange peel can be very beneficial.
Circulation: Alternating hot and cold temperatures in baths and showers can improve circulation and benefit immune function. Footbaths also work to reduce leg or feet swelling and to relieve chest and head congestion. Many women find that footbaths are effective in reducing menstrual cramps. For the best results, soak feet in hot water for at least 20 minutes. Then, rinse feet in cold water. This type of hot/cold hydrotherapy is used to treat many disorders.
Hydrotherapy, either done at home or in a physician’s office is a great option for anyone with a chronic condition or an injury looking for safe, natural relief.
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