Hydrotherapy may sound like a new concept but it has actually been around for hundreds of years. Hydrotherapy has continued to grow in popularity recently as many people realize the immense health benefits that it offers. The University of New Hampshire provides a basic description of what hydrotherapy is, “Hydrotherapy is the use of water for restoring, maintaining, and regulating health. Treatments include steam baths, saunas and hot and cold compresses, among others. Water is used both internally and externally in many different forms, such as steam, liquid or ice. Many people use hydrotherapy in many different ways, and it can be carried out both by a professional and at home… hydrotherapy is based on the concept that water has the ability to alter blood flow and revitalize health. Temperature plays a large part in this process, and different ailments can be controlled by practices using different temperatures. Cold water stimulates the body by constricting blood vessels and restricting blood flow to slow inflammation. It also sends blood towards the internal organs to make them function more efficiently. Hot water relaxes the body by dilating blood vessels, increasing blood flow and sending it to the skin and muscles to ease stiffness. Using hot and cold water together or alternately is common in hydrotherapy practices, and is said to boost hormonal function, improve circulation and activate organ function. Some practices soothe the mind and body by allowing the client to float, weightless, as their body is massaged by moving water, and stimulates touch receptors on the skin.”
While there are some forms of hydrotherapy that can be performed at home, some of the most effective treatments are performed by a naturopathic doctor. Because of its versatility, various forms of hydrotherapy can be used to treat headaches, depression, stress, anxiety, acne, arthritis, digestive issues, joint and muscle pain, nerve problems, sleep disorders, lymphedema, fibromyalgia and more. Hydrotherapy has been used for centuries not just because it is relaxing or comforting, which it is, but because it is effective. In a broad review of various hydrotherapy technique research, the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that hydrotherapy is generally very effective for a variety of conditions, “Based on available literature, this review suggests that hydrotherapy was widely used to improve immunity and for the management of pain, CHF, MI, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, asthma, PD, AS, RA, OAK, FMS, anorectal disorders, fatigue, anxiety, obesity, hypercholesterolemia, hyperthermia, labor, etc. It produces different effects on various systems of the body depending on the temperature of water and though these effects are scientifically evidence based, there is lack of evidences for the mechanism on how hydrotherapy improves these diseases, which is one of the limitations of hydrotherapy, and further studies are required to find the mechanism of hydrotherapy on various diseases.” To experience the benefits of hydrotherapy yourself we highly recommend that you visit a qualified naturopathic doctor who can determine what hydrotherapy treatments will be appropriate for you based on your personal health history.