Hydrotherapy- Healing the Body and Mind

Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropathy, involves the use of water for pain relief and for treating illness. The term hydrotherapy itself is synonymous with the term water cure, as it was originally marketed by practitioners and promoters in the 19th century. There are now many dozens of methods of applying hydrotherapy, including baths, saunas, douches, wraps, and packs

People have been practicing Hydrotherapy for centuries. I remember going to India when I was 18 years old and visiting the Taj Mahal. There was a pool that used to have diamonds embedded in it so the light from the sun would reflect off them and warm up the water. People used to spend 2-3 hours a day bathing and cleansing their bodies (if they could afford to). Now bathing or showering is a daily activity considered to be a task to get over with in the growing list of our busy lives.

The healing properties of hydrotherapy are based on its mechanical and/or thermal effects. It exploits the body's reaction to hot and cold stimuli, to the protracted application of heat, to pressure exerted by the water, and to the sensation that it gives. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body where they stimulate the immune system and   influence the production of stress hormones.   This invigorates the body’s circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity.   Generally speaking, heat quiets and soothes the body, slowing down the activity of internal organs. Cold, in contrast, stimulates and invigorates, thus increasing internal activity. If you are experiencing tense muscles and anxiety from stress, a hot shower or bath is in order. If you are feeling tired and stressed out, you might want to try taking a warm shower or bath followed by a short, invigorating cold shower to help stimulate both your body and mind.

When you submerge yourself into a bath, a pool, or a whirlpool, you experience a sense of weightlessness. Your body is temporarily relieved from the constant pull of gravity. Water also has a hydrostatic effect. It has a massage-like feeling as the water gently kneads your body. Water in motion stimulates touch receptors on the skin, boosting blood circulation and releasing tight   muscles.

Since our bodies are made of mostly water, hydrotherapy has proven to be an effective process because it is so close to our own chemical makeup. Personally, I make  it a weekly ritual to take at least one bath a week infused with Epsom salts and a variety of essential oils to stimulate the senses. It does wonders for my skin, muscles, and even calms my mind. It’s a great stress reliever!!!   This is especially true if you don’t drink much water throughout the day. It is very important that we drink a sufficient amount of water in a day to make up for the water lost. Drinking PURE   FRESH water is essential to our health and well-being.

- Our need for water increases as we grow older. As we age, our skin and mucus membranes become thinner and lose more water; our kidneys also function less efficiently, which increases our need for water. You may not feel thirsty, but you should get into the habit of drinking water nevertheless.

Some things to watch out for…

- When a condition is recurrent or persistent, please consult your physician to determine whether a physical therapy of this type is suitable in your case.

- If you have diabetes, avoid hot applications to the feet or legs. Also avoid full-body heating treatments, such as body wraps.

- Avoid cold applications if you are diagnosed with Raynaud's disease.

-     Hot immersion baths and long, hot saunas are not recommended for those with diabetes or multiple sclerosis; women who are pregnant or anyone with abnormally high or low blood pressure should also abstain from such things.

- Don't take cold footbaths if you are prone to  bladder or rectal irritation. People suffering from sciatica, pelvic inflammation, or rheumatism in the toes or ankles should also avoid cold footbaths.

- Elderly people and young children may be exhausted by too much heat and should avoid long, full-body hot treatments such as immersion baths and saunas.

If you are pregnant or have heart disease, consult a doctor before taking a sauna.

So, ladies, it may be a luxury to some but let’s get in the habit of treating ourselves at least once a week so we can save some money on cosmetic procedures and products! Hop into a nice warm bath, light some candles, and relaxxxxx.