Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of disease. The use of water for therapy has been around for hundreds of years, as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, and forms an integral part in many traditional medicine systems. Learn why it is so beneficial for your health.

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to revitalize, maintain, and restore health. Hydrotherapy treatments include saunas, steam baths, foot baths, sitz baths, and the application of cold and hot water compresses.

Father Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th century Bavarian monk, is said to be the father of hydrotherapy. Kneipp believed that disease could be cured by using water to eliminate waste from the body. Hydrotherapy is popular in Europe and Asia, where people “take the waters” at hot springs and mineral springs. In North America, it is often recommended as self-care by naturopathic doctors.

There is a physiological basis to hydrotherapy. Cold is stimulating, and it causes superficial blood vessels to constrict, shunting the blood to internal organs. Hot water is relaxing, causes blood vessels to dilate, and removes wastes from body tissues. Alternating hot can cold water also improves elimination, decreases inflammation, and stimulates circulation.

When submerged in a body of water such as a bath or a pool, there is a kind of weightlessness, as the water relieves your body of much of the effects of gravity. Water also has a hydrostatic effect and has a massage-like feeling as the water gently kneads your body. Water, when it is moving, stimulates the touch receptors on the skin, increasing blood circulation and releasing tight muscles.

Your physiotherapist will co-ordinate your hydrotherapy program to assist in your injury rehabililation. Classes are run at purpose built indoor hydrotherapy pool Liverpool Whitlam Centre.

Who benefits from hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy aids in pain reduction, muscle strength, joint flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and ambulation skills. Hence it is beneficial for those who have:

Chronic pain

Osteoarthritis and advanced osteoporosis

Muscle strain or tears

Low back pain

Spinal cord injuries

Post polio syndrome

Shoulder, neck, back and pelvic injuries

Cardiac conditions

Obesity

Bone, joint, or muscle disorders

Neurological Impairments

Cerebral Palsy and Stroke

Post operative ankle, knee, hip and spine surgeries

It is also commonly used for relaxation and to maintain a person’s state of health. Hydrotherapy is also excellent for reducing or relieving sudden or long-lasting pain.

Benefits of Hydrotherapy

The benefits of hydrotherapy include:

dramatically increasing the elimination of waste, thus assisting detoxification

loosening tense, tight muscles and encouraging relaxation

increasing the metabolic rate and digestion activity

hydrating the cells, improving skin and muscle tone

boosting the immune system, allowing it to function more efficiently

improving the function of the internal organs by stimulating their blood supply

Contraindications for Hydrotherapy

Cold baths should not be used for young children or the elderly. Sauna baths should be avoided by people that suffer from heart conditions.

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