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Hydrotherapy: What It Is and the Need to Knows

Male feet in outdoor swimming pool

Hydrotherapy is a term you’ve probably never heard before, or if you have heard it, you probably have no idea what it is. If you put the words together, it might give you some insight into what it is, but there’s so much more to it than what you might think. How can hydrotherapy be useful? What is it used for? Those questions and more will be answered!

What is Hydrotherapy?

Did you know modern day hydrotherapy has been around since the 19th-century? That’s right- This seemingly new treatment has been around longer than all of us! Hydrotherapy is the use of water for health purposes. Water can be used both externally and internally and at various temperatures to help achieve your health goals. Hydrotherapy includes such treatments as – Contrast therapy, foot baths, hot and cold showers, saunas, steam baths, and water therapy. 

The Types of Hydrotherapy 

There are many different types of hydrotherapy from just the ones listed above. These forms of hydrotherapy can be done at health centers, homes, or spas. Some of the most common types of hydrotherapy are:

Compresses: This is one you can do at home. Soak a towel in cool or warm water and then place it on the area of the body you want to help. Warm water compresses helps blood flow and helps ease sore and stiff muscles. A cool water compress helps reduce swelling and inflammation. 

Contrast hydrotherapy: This is another one that can be done at home. At the end of your shower, put the temperature down to a comfortable level (just not icy cold), and then turn the water off after 30 seconds. You can do this once, but some people do up to three cycles of warm and cool water, so it’s all about your personal preference and needs.

Hot fomentation: The use of hot compresses and hot water bottles can be used to treat coughs and chest colds. It can help relieve symptoms and also decrease the length of your illness.

Hydrotherapy pool exercises: Often done under the guidance of a physiotherapist, this treatment focuses on exercising in a warm water pool. This treatment is controlled and slow, allowing you to exercise with gentle resistance and no fights from gravity. This treatment is helpful for anyone who suffers from arthritis, back pain, and other musculoskeletal conditions.

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