The term "hydrotherapy" refers to the use of water as part of a medical treatment. People have been traveling to water for healing cures since the days of the Bible’s Old Testament. Many native peoples include sweat lodges or similar water uses in religious rituals and as medical remedies.
In modern hydrotherapy, water can be used in the form of steam, hot or cold water, or ice. Hydrotherapy can be applied in a variety of ways including:
• Warm bath – Soaking in warm water can aid relaxation. Warm water in a spa or hot tub has the added benefit of massaging water jets.
• Humidifier – Water added to the air through a humidifier can ease nasal symptoms and may ease the discomfort caused by a cold or sore throat.
• Sitz bath – This method uses both hot and cold water at the same time by sitting in one bath and soaking the feet in the other, then alternating. Sitz baths may be recommended to treat hemorrhoids, PMS and menstrual issues, cystitis, and polyps.
• Steam bath – Warm, humid air provides treatment for muscle aches and other external conditions as well as entering the lungs.
• Compresses - Warm compresses or heat packs can relieve pain by relaxing muscles and stimulating circulation.
• Ice packs – Frozen water can help reduce swelling and inflammation by constricting blood vessels.
• Enemas – Using water to cleanse the bowels is believed by some people to help cure or reduce colon cancer.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy can be very beneficial in physical rehabilitation and as an aid to exercise. Being in water helps support joints and reduces body weight on sore limbs. Water can make exercises more effective by adding resistance to each movement, which can help build muscle strength. Massages are sometimes done in water to aid relaxation, while yoga may be done in water to increase the effects of the exercise.