What Is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a form of water therapy. It is used to treat different conditions. When looking for alternatives to ease stress or reduce ailments, hydrotherapy is a sensible option. 

What Is Hydrotherapy

What Is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy, otherwise known as aquatic therapy, uses water for physical and mental treatment. Water in various forms (ice, liquid, or steam) produces different effects on our body systems

Healthcare providers rely on aquatic therapy as a treatment to relieve pain and disease symptoms. Through regular exercises in a water pool for bone and joint treatment under the guidance of a physical therapist. Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking a warm bath at home.

How Does Hydrotherapy Work?

The core function of hydrotherapy is based on how the human body reacts to cold water. Cold water constricts blood vessels, to help reduce inflammation and relieve sore muscles.  

Moving your body in a pool does not cause muscle strain. Hydrotherapy pools are hotter than average swimming pools, with temperatures of 33-37 ℃. Warm water relaxes body muscles and relieves pain.

Alternating cold and warm water applications is common. Father Sebastian Kneipp’s method is a notable cold water treatment with lots of therapeutic benefits. The object of all cold water applications is to cause stimulation in the circulation of the blood. For this treatment to work, the patient must be warm before administering cold water.

Hydrotherapy Methods

Taking a hot shower relieves fatigue. Here are hydrotherapy treatments you can try at home:

  • Warm Bathing  – Warm water increases blood flow, relieving any pain and sore muscles. Adding minerals and essential oils to baths can also boost emotional well-being.
  • Water Exercise – Pool aerobics and cardio strengthens your muscles and joints. Water buoyancy provides extra support and balance when exercising. It is a safe and effective exercise mode for older women and those with osteoarthritis. 
  • Water Circuit Therapy – This hydrotherapy method includes warm baths, hot tubs, and cold plunge pools. By switching between these water treatments, you reap the benefits of both hot and cold water.
  • Steam Baths and Saunas – Steam is an effective form of heat hydrotherapy. Steam improves blood circulation, boosts skin health, and aids workout recovery. Steam inhalation is also suitable for decongestion. A sauna/steam room should be used 2-3 times a week for no more than 10-20 minutes at a time.
  • Watsu – Watsu is a shiatsu massage done in warm water. Watsu is done as arthritis hydrotherapy. It also helps relieve back pains and mood disorders.
  • Sitz Bath – A sitz bath is a warm water bath. Patients only insert their hips and buttocks in water for 10-15 minutes. These baths are helpful for cleansing and healing after hemorrhoid surgery or childbirth.

Who Can Benefit From Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy has significant pain-relieving effects in chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue. Warm water acts on the nerves to ease pain, increase blood flow and cause muscle relaxation. A study done on patients with rheumatoid arthritis proves that moderate-intensity exercises have antioxidant effects. 

You can use hydrotherapy to treat the following ailments:

  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatism
  • Sore muscles
  • Colon cleansing
  • Pre or post-surgery
  • Childbirth
  • Chronic pain

Connection Between Hydrotherapy and Chromotherapy

Chromotherapy treats physical and psychological conditions by using the seven rainbow colors. During therapy, violet, blue, and indigo promote calm and relaxation. The colors reflect through underwater lights in bathtub walls and spas. When you add color to your bathing experience, your mood is affected.

What Are The Perks of Hydrotherapy?

Physicians recommend hydrotherapy as a form of physical therapy. It is effective among the elderly suffering from poor health conditions. Exercising in warm water is good for arthritis patients. Warm water reduces physical pain and increases blood circulation. 

Hydrotherapy helps with joint and muscle problems. People can improve their balance and body coordination with the water treatment. They can stand up without pulling their weight down due to the buoyancy of the water. 

Water exercise burns calories. Using water as resistance is effective in burning calories while building stronger muscles. Research also shows that water improves immunity by improving the circulation of white blood cells in the body.

What’s the Best Hydrotherapy Bathtub?

What’s the Best Hydrotherapy Bathtub

Home hydrotherapy devices increase recovery rates. You also save money as you don’t need to visit the hospital as much. Choose a bathtub that offers comfort, safety, and other unique specs to meet your needs. Here are the main types of tubs you can buy for your hydrotherapy sessions:

  • Whirlpools: They use high pressure to transfer water and feature strategically placed air jets. There are luxury whirlpool tubs with a hydrotherapy feature that instantly relaxes aches with a deeper deep tissue massage.
  • Air tubs: Tons of tiny, calming bubbles are released throughout the tub. Air tubs enhance and energize touch receptors, which helps to relieve tension.
  • Walk-in tubs: A hydrotherapy session in a walk-in tub dilates your blood vessels, increasing blood flow in your body. Improved circulation allows blood to flow to achy muscles, resulting in tissue repair.
  • Massage tubs: Combine the feeling of effervescence with a massage. They combine air tub and whirlpool bath technologies to create pressurized water to soothe muscles.

Why Aquatic Therapy Might Not Be Appropriate for You

Before starting hydrotherapy, you must notify your physiotherapist of any health issues. Some medical conditions may prevent a person from participating in the treatment, such as:

  • Open wounds
  • Skin infection
  • Asthma and other respiratory conditions
  • Fever
  • Incontinence
  • Infectious disease
  • Heart condition
  • Seizure disorders
  • Kidney disease
  • Chemical allergies (Chlorine)

How Long Does a Hydrotherapy Session Last?

Hydrotherapy sessions last between 40 to 60 minutes. A physiotherapist supervises every session. Beginners have one or two sessions a week, which increases with time. 

Your therapist will determine the number of sessions you need. The goal is to see an improvement in your body, depending on your condition. Your therapist might tell you to continue with these sessions throughout your recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What Is Colonic Hydrotherapy?

Colon hydrotherapy, or colon irrigation, is the process of flushing the large intestine. It’s used to prepare for a colonoscopy or to get rid of toxins.

Can Hydrotherapy Help With Weight Loss?

Water resistance builds muscle strength. Soaking in hot tubs for 15 minutes every day also helps to lower cortisol levels (stress hormone). Lowering cortisol levels prevents overeating and weight gain.

What’s the Ideal Frequency and Length of Hydrotherapy Sessions?

Hydrotherapy sessions two or three times a week are effective for most medical conditions. Most people keep doing hydrotherapy at home or in public pools even after treatment. You can soak in a hot tub every day for 30 minutes per session.

What Is Balneotherapy?

Balneotherapy is a common practice in spas. It is hydrotherapy without exercise. Spa therapists use water jets in their massages and hydrotherapy pools. Spa treatments with mineral water for patients with rheumatoid arthritis reduce their pain levels and improve mental wellness.

Hydrotherapy Conclusion

Humans have used water for therapeutic purposes since the beginning of civilization. Hydrotherapy is an essential component of burn care. However, the benefits of hydrotherapy in muscle-strengthening cardiac conditioning have been overlooked. 

Water therapy is also used to treat rheumatic, orthopedic, and neurological disorders. Hydrotherapy is also good for total hip arthroplasty.