Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of disease.
It works on the principle of the body's reaction to hot and cold stimuli, to the protracted application of heat and water pressure and to the resultant stimulation. Hydrotherapy's recuperative and healing properties are based on its mechanical effects combined with temperature. The nerves convey impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body stimulating the immune system, to produce stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and decreasing sensitivity to pain.
Water gives a hydrostatic effect as it gently massages the body. Moving water stimulates touch receptors on the skin, increasing blood circulation and unwinding tight muscles. When submerged, a kind of weightlessness is experienced.
Hydrotherapy can be used to stimulate digestion, blood flow, the immune system, get pain relief and tone up the body.
Water affects the skin and muscles and seems to get rid of stress and revitalises us. Stimulated nerve reflexes on the spinal cord, results in calming of lungs, heart, stomach, and endocrine system
Some things to be aware of:
• Avoid cold application if you are diagnosed with Raynaud's disease.
• Don't take cold foot baths if you are prone to bladder or rectal irritation. People suffering from sciatica, pelvic inflammation or rheumatism in the toes or ankles should avoid cold foot baths.
• Elderly people and young children may be exhausted by too much heat and should avoid long full-body hot treatments such as immersion baths and saunas.
• Hot immersion baths and long, hot saunas are not recommended for those with diabetes or multiple sclerosis, women who are pregnant or anyone with abnormally high or low blood pressure.
• If you are pregnant or have heart disease, consult a doctor before taking a sauna.
• If you have diabetes, avoid hot application to the feet or legs. Also avoid full body heating treatments, such as body wraps.
• Persons with impaired temperature sensation run the risk of scalding or frostbite at temperature extremes.