What Is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a relaxation technique to reduce stress, and anxiety levels, bring relaxation and improve sleep by improving mood.
It is an alternative medicine, which involves comprises water use for the relief of pain, and promotes relaxation (1)
Hydrotherapy is also known as water therapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy, and balneotherapy, where water is used in various forms and in different temperatures.
Its forms include pools, showers, whirlpools, and warm baths, also (in steam and ice form) to produce different effects on different systems of the body.
Hydrotherapy has been used in India, China, and Egypt since ancient times.
The therapist commonly uses it for different parts of the body to prevent, treat illness, and maintain health.
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Who Need Hydrotherapy?
Water therapy can be beneficial for several people, but it is not a fully proven treatment for diseases.
Also, there is no specific person who needs hydrotherapy, typically it is not necessary to take it, it is just an alternative treatment for the disease.
Here are various people who need water therapy are:
- Physical injuries such as strains, and sprains
- chronic pain persons
- neurological conditions such as stroke
- COPD and other respiratory issues
- heart disease, and other cardiovascular diseases
- mental health issues such as depression, and anxiety
- skin condition like eczema
If you are interested in hydrotherapy, then talk to your healthcare provider about it, especially if you have any health issues.
Types or Forms
There are various types or forms of hydrotherapy are applying during sessions which include:
Whirlpool therapy – In this, a specific pool or tub is specially designed to generate a water current that improves the motion around the injured area.
Massage – In this, a water jet is used to heal the body by shooting water at precise chakras on the body at the specified time
Steam bath therapy – also known as a sauna, involves steaming the overall body to relax muscles and improve circulation.
Cold water and warm water therapy – In this, waters are used to promote relaxation, recovery fast, and other benefits.
Exercise therapy -In this, exercises are done in water, which helps in mobility, improves endurance and strength, and also heart health.
Mineral bath therapy – In this, individuals bathe in mineral water that contains Epsom salt, which reduces soreness, acne, and pain.
These are the most common types or forms of water therapy, which have different benefits and are recommended according to your condition.
Is Hydrotherapy Can Help In Coping With Stress?
Yes, several studies reveal that hydrotherapy can help a person cope with stress and anxiety.
It is commonly used worldwide by women to promote relaxation and decrease anxiety levels, and pain during labor (2) (3) (4).
Stress is the leading cause of mental issues, which even become the reason for anxiety, and depression, over time.
If stress is not managed, or trigger stressful situation again and again, so it becomes chronic stress, which can increase the risk of several health issues.
Compared to music therapy, it is a more significant effect in reducing stress symptoms including pain, and in improving mood (5)
A study found that cold water swimming can decrease tension, fatigue, mood negative thoughts, and relieve pain.
Hot showers can release the production of oxytocin hormone, which eases stress, and anxiety, which I personally experienced.
A 2019 research shows that hot water baths improve mood, help in smooth muscle stiffness, which overall promotes relaxation, and that reduces stress.
Massage by water can release endorphins (a natural painkiller) which promote pleasure feeling, that reduce stress, and anxiety.
During this, it enables you to focus on the current moment and let your stress-related thoughts or worries (6)
If you see that hydrotherapy is not effective for you, then you should talk to your doctor, maybe you need medical treatment.
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What is hydrotherapy used for?
It is used for a variety of purposes where it can help people ease their pain including:
- help in reducing pain
- muscle spasms
- to improve mobility
- muscle pain
- menstrual pain
- increase circulation
- reduce stress and anxiety
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Benefits of hydrotherapy
It has several benefits which include:
Hydrotherapy is used for the colon, where water is used to flush out toxic material from the large intestine, also known as colon cleansing.
Through this water therapy, there is an ancient technique quite popular among people known as an enema, which is especially used to treat chronic constipation.
In an enema, a pipe is inserted from the rectum into the intestine and the accumulated dirt is pulled out.
It brings calmness and relaxation, where the cold and hot temperatures of the water play a vital role in bringing calm (7)
Warm water promotes a soothing effect, which will reduce stress, and office tension.
Beneficial during weight loss
A 6-week study, performed by obese people, result shown that aqua jogging exercise, showed improvement in weight loss, and fitness.
It does not directly help in weight loss, exercise in water can provide resistance, which makes muscles work more which increases metabolism.
Make sure, diet also plays a vital role in reducing weight, so eat high protein, but low-fatty food, especially processed food.
A healthy diet with water exercise combination burns calories, which will help with weight reduction.
Improve well being
A study reveals that cold water significantly improves well-being through changes in mood state, and reduces pain, tension, etc.
It can improve well-being by reducing stress, and workplace tension, improving sleep, through bring a sensation of relaxation.
Like other relaxation techniques, it also has downsides which include:
- Burns (if it is extremely cold and hot)
- If hygiene is not maintained during the session, it may increase the risk of infection and other diseases.
- if you have an allergic reaction, then in mineral bath therapy Epsom salt may lead to allergic.
- extreme cold water may lead to shock, especially in older people, and a sudden drop in blood pressure.
- long-term with warm water may lead to high blood pressure, fatigue, and dizziness.
- it may interact with medicines, so talk to a doctor before going into hydrotherapy, as may worsen your situation.
So it becomes important to talk to your doctor or therapist before jumping into it and always follow safety guidelines.
Where Can I find It?
You can easily find water therapy near you, by trying the following methods are:
By searching online – You can use google Maps or use bing search to find it near you.
Hospital and clinics – Some hospital and clinic ayurvedic therapists use hydrotherapy to ease disease, treat illness, and prevent illness.
Local spas or professional centers – many centers and spas provide hydrotherapy, make sure to check hygiene before jumping into it.
Ask for your healthcare – Many doctors or therapists have contacts with other therapists, and they can recommend you to other facilities.
What Will Be Expectations During Hydrotherapy?
Expectations during hydrotherapy is depends on which type of water therapy you received and the condition that you treat.
1. Before starting therapy, your therapist may ask you about your medical history, and conditions, to find the ideal and safe therapy for you.
2. The therapist, Start it will with water temperature, according to your condition water temp may be different.
Also, the water temperature may be adjusted according to your relaxation, and it is performed on shallow and deep water.
3. During bath time, the water jet is also applied, whereas ice packs and steam, can be used on different parts of your body.
4. Exercise is very vital, where the therapist tells you to perform specific exercises to improve your condition.
5. The session may last for minutes to an hour, depending on the person’s need, and what type of treatment you choose.
6. Repeating this method is very important to reduce stress, anxiety, and other issues, it may take time to show its benefits, so make sure don’t leave treatment in between.
Remember, hydrotherapy is not a complete cure for illness, it just relieves pain, and symptoms, and promotes quality of life.
Can We Perform Watertherapy – At Home?
Yes, you can perform it at home, it just needs a bathtub, shower, or hot and cold water bucket.
The hot water bath is very relaxing, especially after office work, and a bath before sleep improves the quality of sleep.
A typically used remedy is Epsom salt, make sure, to follow safety guidelines like avoiding high temperatures or extremely cold water.
If you have a skin issue and are under any medication or treatment, then speak with a medical expert before beginning.