Hydrotherapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses water to maintain health or treat disease. It is used to treat a variety of conditions including headaches, arthritis, infections, acne, and pain.
How does it work?
Practitioners of hydrotherapy believe water has many attributes that make it useful in healing. Such properties include the following:
• Water can help blood flow
• Water can store and transport energy and heat
• Water can soothe, relax, and calm people
• Water can dissolve substances like minerals or salts
• Exercising in water provides resistance and can take weight off a painful joint
• Water occurs in a variety of forms like ice and steam, and such forms have therapeutic uses. Ice can be used to cool patients and steam can be used in steam baths or in treatments to ease breathing
Types of hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy treatments can be given at spas, or they can be self-care treatments administered at home. There are several types, including the following:
• Warm water bath
• Sitz bath
• Steam bath or Turkish bath
• Hot fomentation
• Wet sock treatment
What is a hot fomentation?
A hot fomentation involves using a thick cloth, often made of wool, to apply heat to the patient to relieve pain and soothe coughs or chest colds. The cloth is heated either by steam or boiling water. The practitioner then puts it on the treatment site and leaves it there for several minutes. Many therapists will apply three hot fomentations, one after the other, during a treatment session.
What is the difference between a compress and a hot fomentation?
Both compresses and fomentations involve putting heated cloths on a patient to relieve pain and relax muscles. Fomentations call for the uses of large thick pads while compresses are thinner folded cloths. Fomentations can be heated with steam or plain hot water, while compresses are heated in hot water that can be mixed with oils, herbs, salts, or minerals.
The cloths used in fomentations are larger than compresses and they can cover a larger part of the patient’s body. They also hold heat longer.
What is the wet sock treatment?
The wet sock treatment is a type of hydrotherapy that can be done at home and it is used to treat colds, sore throats, bronchitis, nasal congestion, ear infections, migraines, and headaches.
Before going to bed, the patient soaks their feet in hot water for three minutes. They then wet a pair of thin socks or anklets in cold water and put them on. Finally, they pull on a pair of heavy woolen socks and go to bed.
Putting very cold socks over very warm feet triggers the body’s need to maintain homeostasis. It will try to fill that need by sending a lot of blood towards the feet to warm them up. The wet socks, therefore, stimulate the circulatory system, which in turn stimulates the lymph system. The stimulated lymph modes then send the immune system into overdrive to deal with the infection.
What is a Sitz bath?
A Sitz bath is a treatment used to relieve pain in the buttocks or around the genitalia. It can be used to treat hemorrhoids, anal fissures, vaginal infections, constipation, or diarrhea. The patient can take one in their own bathtub. Depending on their doctor’s instructions, they may take several Sitz baths a day for 10 or 15 minutes per bath.
The patient needs only a couple of inches of comfortably warm water in the tub. They should not add soap or anything else to the water, for that might irritate the treatment area. They should make sure the water covers the treatment site. Afterwards, they gently dry the area with a towel.
Hot Tub Spa Usage
Finally, there is no easier way to obtain a nice relaxing hydrotherapy massage or soak, then by sitting in a hot tub spa. Using the jets can help knead away any pain or stress, while the heated water helps to alleviate those symptoms as well.
If you’re looking for a hydro-therapeutic way to not only better your life, but add to your health and comfort, check out one of the Bullfrog Spas or Hot Tubs at Robert Allen Pools and Spas.