Benefits of hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a go-to treatment when it comes to conditions like arthritis, rheumatic complaints, and other ailments.

Hydrotherapy is commonly associated with swimming, however the method is slightly different. During hydrotherapy, Individuals undertake different exercises in a warm pool of water, typically within a hospital physiotherapy department. The water temperature is 33-36 degrees Celsius, so is much warmer than a typical swimming pool.

Scientific facts

Hydrotherapy utilises both its mechanical and thermal effects to induce healing. The body reacts through the hot sensation and pressure exerted by the water, carrying the effects deeper into the skin by the nerves.

These sensations in the body stimulate the immune system as well as releasing stress hormones, improving digestion, blood circulation and flow. Hydrotherapy can also reduce the body’s sensitivity to pain. As a result, the heated water soothes the body by slowing down the activity of internal organs. Whereas, when submerging participants in cold water, the body’s internal activity increases.

Participants with anxiety and those who regularly endure tense muscles often bathe in hot water. For those who are feeling stressed or tired will often have a hot shower followed by a short cold shower. This method stimulates both the mind and body.

When submerging the body in a pool or bath, the participant will feel some kind of weightlessness. This is due to the water relieving some of gravity’s effects. Additionally, the water induces a hydrostatic effect and a massage-like feeling as it kneads the body. Studies show moving water stimulates the skin’s touch receptors and therefore increases blood circulation while also releasing tight muscles.

External hydrotherapy

There are two types of hydrotherapy – external and internal. External hydrotherapy includes applying ice or water to the body, as well as immersing the body in water. These methods are often heavily reliant on temperature affecting the skin and underlying tissue. External heat causes the body to sweat as well as relaxing the muscles. This method is used in conjunction with aromatherapy to treat poor circulation, arthritis, rheumatism and sore muscles.

Cold water external hydrotherapy includes the application of cold and moist heat to various parts of the body. This method is common when treating conditions such as arthritis, the flu and chest colds.

Ice pack and cold compresses are also forms of external hydrotherapy. These simple methods are often related to relieving pain caused by dental surgery, headaches and sprains. Body packs are useful when calming psychiatric patients as well as detoxification.

Cold baths are common relievers for treating hemorrhoids, cramps and prostate swelling. Additionally, there is a form of motion-based therapy which involves spraying high-pressure water to massage the body to release stress and anxiety.

Internal hydrotherapy

Internal hydrotherapy is not a common method used at home and, generally, participants will only take part when the therapy is recommended and performed by a professional. Forms of internal hydrotherapy include enemas and colonic irrigation. Steam baths are a good example of internal hydrotherapy used by many different people.

There are many benefits to hydrotherapy. The methods have been used for a number of years and it is recommended to treat many different health conditions.