We all can use a boost to our healing force during these challenging times. Hydrotherapy (or “water cure”) refers to the therapeutic use of water to stimulate the body’s healing force.
Many beneficial changes take place in the body in response to warm or cold water hydrotherapy. These changes depend upon the purpose of treatment, areas of the body to which hydrotherapy is applied, and temperature of the water used. For example, hydrotherapy can be immersion of the whole body, except the head, or local applications such as to the legs, feet, or core. The beneficial effects of hydrotherapy can include:
- Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
- Increasing circulation of antioxidants in the blood
- Reducing level of free radicals
- Increasing production of anti-inflammatory agents in the body
- Reducing pain, spasm, or tension
- Feeling relief from depressed or anxious emotions
Hydrotherapy may also help to detoxify metals, pesticides and herbicides, and other toxic buildup from improper diet and lifestyle.
Using water in differing forms and temperatures can provide a number of different benefits for your body and can all be done in the privacy of your own home! Take a look at these 4 ways to practice hydrotherapy at home.
Neutral Temperature baths
Hop into the tub and submerge your body up to your neck in water that is slightly cooler than body temperature. These neutral temperatures are used to treat insomnia and emotional agitation. Soaking for as little as 15 minutes can offer sedative benefits.
Inhaling steam is great for clearing congested sinus passages, but it is also beneficial in improving circulation in the body. Your skin benefits from steam exposure as well. Steam has been shown to help shed dead skin cells, allowing new cells to provide a natural glow. You may find a hot shower works well for this, but you could also put a pot of water on the oven to boil and breathe in steam that way.
Salt water has been shown to help increase your immune system function, improve circulation throughout your body, and even hydrate your skin. The salt cleanses pores and reduces inflammation. Some people travel to destinations to dip into the healing sea waters, but at home, you may find that drawing a warm bath and adding your personal favorite sea salt to the water is just the boost you need to feel less stress and get your glow on.
Contrast shower hydrotherapy
Adding contrast showering into your home care routine is easy, although the cold temperatures may take some getting used to. Below are some tips for getting started:
- Start your shower on warm/hot for 2-3 minutes.
- Change your water temperature to as cold as you can tolerate (we recommend 30 seconds in the beginning and building up to 1 min).
- Repeat 2-3 times.
- Finish with a cold shower, for a longer lasting energy boost.
Hydrotherapy – and sudden changes in temperature specifically – may not be right for you if you suffer from:
- Heart conditions, including high blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Uncontrolled epilepsy
- Open wounds and/or skin infections
Always consult a doctor or other medical professional before starting any new treatments or lifestyle interventions.