What is Hydrotherapy

what is hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy comes from two Greek words Hydro meaning water and therapy meaning treatment, in other words, Hydrotherapy means the use of water in any of its three forms (Solid, Liquid, or Steam) either externally or internally to restore health. In this write-up, What Is Hydrotherapy, we will be going through the effects of hydrotherapy in various temperatures and how you can leverage its healing power.

 

WHY WATER IS VALUABLE AS A THERAPEUTIC AGENT. (Hydrotherapy)

  1. It is generally available and cheap.
  2. It does not cause irritation either externally or internally.
  3. Its ability to change from solid to liquid to steam and back again.
  4. It can be recycled and reused.
  5. Water gives up heat rapidly, yet it does not cool too rapidly.
  6. It is a universal solvent.
  7. Easy to apply.
  8. Great power for absorbing and releasing heat.
  9. Proper viscosity
  10. Proper density for buoyancy.

 

What is Hydrotherapy? (The chemistry behind hydrotherapy.)

 Good circulation of good blood leads to good health.

Hydrotherapy functions majorly by increasing proper circulation and the production of white blood cells.

 Due to the skin been connected to every organ in the body through the nervous and circulatory systems, change in the temperature of the skin via water application either cold or hot or warm will stimulate or sedate specific systems or organs through nervous sensation.

 

Water therapy works because it provides the main needs of the cell which are oxygen, water, nutrition, elimination, and protection from toxic and harmful or unhealthy substances. Cells have been the building block for our body’s tissue, organs, and systems means that healthy cells will definitely result in healthy organs and systems.

What Is Hydrotherapy

How does hydrotherapy satisfy these basic needs of the cell?

There 5(five) basic needs of cells, remember cells are the building blocks of our body, cells make up tissues, tissues make up organs, and organs make up the system which in turn make up our body.

Cell→Tissue→Organ→System

When I say there are five basic needs of the cell, it also means the five basic needs of our body. These basic needs are Oxygen, water, food/nutrition, elimination, and protection.

If these needs are provided, the body has a better chance to repair and defend itself. You may be asking how hydrotherapy or water treatment supply these needs of the cell.

When the temperature of the body is increased generally (E.g. steam bath) or specifically to an area(E.g. Hot foot bath), there is a drastic increase in blood flow or circulation leading to sweating, thus toxins are removed from the body, and congestion of the blood in any part of the body is relieved because of the even circulation.

The blood is responsible for the transport of oxygen from our lungs to the cell, also responsible for the transport of carbon dioxide, the waste product of the body from the cell back to the lungs, and the blood is responsible for transporting nutrients to the cell.

Thus the ability of hydrotherapy to enhance blood flow throughout the body supplies the basic needs of the body and thus prepares the body to heal itself

There is always a stimulation of the immune system leading to a multiplication of the white blood cells, they become more active when the body temperature is increased, which results in the relief of pains and fever, promotion of relaxation, and rest.

Temperature ranges, duration and effect of water

TemperatureDurationEffect
Very cold
32-43℉
1-7℃
A few seconds only under supervisionTonic
Cold
40-60℉
5-15℃
Zero seconds to 2 minutesTonic, shocks, Nervous system.
Cold
60-72℉
15-21℃
30 seconds to 3 minutesinvigorating, improves circulation
Tepid
80-90℉
25-30℃
5 to 7 minutesCleanses, lowers fever, cools inflammation
Neutral
92-95℉
31-33℃
30 t0 60 minutesRefreshes, helps heal burns
Warm
90-100℉
35-38℃
15 to 30 minutesEqualizes circulation, reduces pain, softens skin
Hot
100-105℉
35-38℃
8 to 10 minutesRelieves pain, helps neuritis gout, arthritis, rheumatism and skin eruptions
Very hot
105-110℉
38-40℃
A few seconds to few minutesRelaxes, reduces muscle pain spasms, dilates blood vessels, raises blood pressure.
Understanding the effect of various water temperatures on our body is vital in order to get desired results from water therapy

THE PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECT OF HOT AND COLD WATER. (What Is Hydrotherapy)

The physiological effect of water can be classified as

  • Thermal: There is a marked response in the body through the application of water greater or lesser than the body’s normal temperature, the greater the difference in temperature from the body’s normal temperature, the greater the response
  • Mechanical. this mechanical effect is also known as the hydrostatic effect, it is the effect or impact of water on the skin’s surface.
  • Chemical: This refers to the use or application of water internally, either by mouth or by the irrigation of a body cavity (such as the bowel as in colonics or enema).

Of the above listed 3 physiological effects of water, the thermal is most useful in water treatment (hydrotherapy) because the heat contained in the hot water is transmitted to the body tissues which in turn generates heat in the body.

How is Heat Transmitted to the Body In Hydrotherapy?

The heat from heating water is transmitted to the body during hydrotherapy by the following normal means of heat transmission:

  • Conduction: This occurs when a heated object comes in contact with another object, there is always a transmission of heat. Heat transmission through conduction is the commonest use of heat in hydrotherapy. (e.g heat foot bath)
  • Convection: In this means of heat transfer, the heated object does not come in contact with the body rather heat is transmitted to the body through the heat current of the liquid or gas (as in furnace and radiators, e.g. Steam bath)
  • Conversion: This occurs when is heat is generated in the body tissues by passing a form of energy through it, (ultrasound)

 Understanding the physiological effects of water at varying temperatures is required for the optimization of its benefits.

 Effet Of HEAT In Hydrotherapy (What Is Hydrotherapy)

  1. Decreases stiffness in arthritis.
  2. Decreases muscle pain and spasm.
  3. A rise in body temperature
  4. Increases hemorrhage
  5. Increase pulse rate
  6. Increases edema production.
  7. Increases blood flow.
  8. Accelerates metabolism
  9. Increase in body count (white body cell)
  10. Increases inflammatory response

 Effect Of COLD In Hydrotherapy (What Is Hydrotherapy)

  1. Increases stiffness in arthritis
  2. Decreases muscle pain and spasm
  3. Decreases hemorrhage
  4. Decreases edema production
  5. Decreases blood flow.
  6. Decreases the inflammatory response.

 

Effect Of Warm In Hydrotherapy (What Is Hydrotherapy)

It neutral, having a minimal physiologic effect, thus producing a sedative effect.

 

Caution

The use of hydrotherapy requires some skill, do not practice without supervision.