Healing is not something humans need to aim towards; in fact, it is a part of our natural system. Made up of 5 elements, the body is capable of healing itself on its own once we start giving it the right inputs through a natural way of living. Considering our body is made up 70% of water, water plays a pivotal role in cleansing and healing. In this blog post, we discuss the concept of hydrotherapy in detail, with the different techniques and their benefits.
What is hydrotherapy?
Healing is inherent in a living body. The only requisite is to remove all that is draining away our vitality. Remove all obstructions, get into nature and a nature-based lifestyle, and what results after that is nothing but better health.
Our body gets support from the panchamahabhootas - Sun, air, water, earth and space, to cleanse and heal itself. During the cleansing and healing, we may face some pains, discomforts, etc. This is when we can administer or make use of different applications with the help of the air, water, sun, earth or space. The applications where we make use of water are called Hydro Therapy.
Benefits of hydrotherapy
Hydro Therapy is very useful in assisting our body during cleansing and healing because our body is made of more than 70% of water. The best effects of the water therapies on our body are
Equalization of the bodily heat,
Relief from pain by dispersion of congestions
Temporary increase in vitality.
In an unhealthy body, the heat is unevenly distributed. Where ever there is congestion and stagnant blood, the temperature is more, whereas, where ever there is a poor supply of blood, the body part is cold. The hydrotherapy baths and packs assist the body in correcting these issues. Though we mostly use cold water, we don’t try to reduce the temperature of the body. Instead, we rouse the vital power to generate more heat than is lost. Because heat is life, that is, by generating heat, the life possesses and controls the body.
Hydrotherapy is useful in all stages of the disease, whether acute, chronic or degenerative.
In acute stages, we can make use of hydrotherapy baths or packs to get some relief from extreme pains or discomfort.
During chronic stage, we can make use of hydrotherapy to increase our vitality.
In degenerative stage, again we can conserve our vitality and equip the body better to deal with pains and discomfort.
What are the essentials used during hydrotherapy?
The water that is used for hydrotherapy has to be soft and not hard. The softer the water, better the effect.
If the quality of water is not too good, then it can be exposed to the sun all day and it can be cooled at night in open air.
The types of equipment that we can use for hydrotherapy are the spinal bathtub, the hip bathtub, the hot foot bathtub, the hot hand bathtub, the full immersion bathtub, etc.
We could use cloth bandages or packs also for different purposes. But the cloth used must not be too new, as it can’t hold water. The cloth must be of soft cotton, used and washed, but not dirty and greasy. We can use clean washed cotton cloth or softened Turkish towels for the packs, wraps and fomentations.
What are the different techniques of hydrotherapy?
The most important of all baths, this vitalizes the backbone or the nervous system which in turn vitalizes or works as a tonic for the whole body. One has to lie in a tub filled with three inches of water and let the backbone be soaked in the cool and calming waters. Do not forget to place a wet towel on the head so that the body heat doesn’t get into the head. Only the backbone is immersed in the water. The arms, legs, and the head are out of water resting on the sides of the tub.
This bath is very relaxing and vitalizing. One can stay in the water for about 15 to 20 minutes and then have a full shower from the head. In the beginning, one may feel warm in the head after a spinal bath. And so it is advised to have a cold shower from the head.
One can get highly relaxed after a spinal bath. Body works best in a relaxed state. So it helps in our cleansing and healing. It relaxes our nervous system, increases vitality; temporarily attracting more blood circulation in that particular area. Helps relieve congestions, pains, etc. We have seen hip baths work wonders for people with backbone issues, cervical spondylitis, and sciatica, people who have had backbone injuries or surgeries. A spinal bath is beneficial for everyone in general. For highly stressed-out people, it is a boon, as one can get relaxed in a very short time. It is beneficial even when one is in a good state of health.
2. Hip Bath
In a hip bath, one sits in a tub of cold water of about six inches. When one sits in the water, the water must reach the navel. The water should be moderately cold. Sometimes, we administer hot and cold hip baths too for certain health issues. A wet towel is again placed on the head to keep the rising heat from increasing the temperature of the head. This bath helps the internal inflammations to come to the surface. After a dip for around 15 mts, one must get out of the tub, wipe the body get dressed and either go for a walk or lie down in the bed with a blanket to cover the whole body. This we do to increases the temperature again around our abdomen and hip area.
It helps in helping the old deposits in the intestine to lose up, it gives some relief to the tired and overworked organs of elimination, like the kidneys, bladder, colon, etc, it helps remove toxin from the reproductive organs. So ultimately our digestive system, reproductive system and the eliminatory systems get some relief and are relaxed by the hip bath. Both the hip bath and spinal bath must be taken before meals or after at least two hours after a meal. But if one is suffering from stomach pain after a meal and it is not yet two hours, still he can take a hip bath to get relief.
3.The Immersion Bath
In thisbath, the water is bearably cold and one lies in the water immersing the body completely except for the head. One can remain in this tub for about 15 minutes. After which, one can come out, wipe the body dry and try to get warm. This can be taken with hot and cold water too, as some people need more heat than cold. The duration for the hot tub is 15 to 20 minutes followed by 3 minutes of cold. This can be repeated two or three times. Always end with cold water.
It is very useful for weak people but not for people who are so weak that they are bedridden.
4. The Piecemeal Cold Friction Bath
This is a good substitute for the full-body cold bath. When one is low in vitality, and he cannot afford to have a full-body cold bath, it is easy to scrub one part at a time with a cold towel, dipping and wringing in cold water after each scrub. After the scrub is done for the whole body, drying up and warming is recommended.
When one is suffering from high fever, such a bath is advised. It not only reduces the temperature a bit, but also makes the sufferer feel a little refreshed, rested and relaxed.
5. Hot Hand and Foot Bath
Two tubs are used with water warm enough to be bearable. One can immerse both arms and legs in the hot water at the same time while sitting on a stool. One sweats a lot in this therapy. The wet towel on the head is not to be forgotten. After 30 minutes one can remove the arms and legs from the water and have a cold shower.
This helps people with sciatica, spondylitis, migraines, sinusitis, asthma, etc. This is beneficial for people suffering from insomnia too. If this is done just before bed, the chances of getting deep sleep are more.
Bandages and Packs
Bandages and wet packs are more suitable for weaker patients. They can be used in many different ways as is perceived to be needed at the moment.
6. Abdominal Wet Pack
A broad wet cold bandage wrapped around the stomach to give relief from excess heat in the abdominal area. In chronic conditions, it is better to cover the bandage with a woollen wrapper to not expose it to cold air.
7. The Cooling Wet Pack
This is very useful when the patient is very weak and has a very high body temperature. A wet cotton blanket may be wrapped around the trunk of the body and covered by a woollen blanket to keep away the extra cold. Do not forget the wet towel on the head. Once the blanket starts feeling warm it can be removed and the body could be patted dry.
8. The local Cooling Wet Packs
Cold wet packs can be used on local troubled areas in sprains, wounds, sprains, pains, swellings, etc. Even in case of serious injuries, one can get a wet bandage, which could relieve the pain and make one forget pain for some time. While bleeding the pack could be tied tightly to stop the draining of the blood.
9. The hot and cold fomentation
Whenever there is a sprain or any pain or swelling in any part of the body one could do hot and cold fomentation. Two tubs of water filled with hot and cold water each and two Turkish towels do the job. Start by placing a hot towel on the spot of pain and let it cool. Then remove the hot towel and place the cold towel on the same spot. This can continue for 20 to 30 minutes. After that wipe the body part dry and let the patient relax or go to sleep. Always finish the fomentation with a cold towel.
An enema is water introduced into your colon with the help of an enema can, to help remove the old dry matter from the colon. An enema is usually advised only when there is no bowel movement for a day or two. Otherwise, it is always better to let the body work and push filth out on its own.
An even distribution of heat in all parts of the body is an important condition of good health and vitality. One should have a cool head and warm feet and a soft stomach as a sign of good health. When one is not in good health, hydrotherapy is one of the ways in which we try to bring a balance in the temperatures and help the body to work better and eliminate toxins. So, hydrotherapy along with other therapies and a natural fruit and vegetables based diet can help one to reverse his health condition from sick to healthy.
(About Swati Dhariwal - I am a Nature Cure Practitioner, practising at Kayakalp Nature Cure Center at Arcot in vellore, Tamilnadu. I was brought up in a household where nature based lifestyle was the norm. I was initially trained in practical nature cure under my father, late Dr B Premchand Banthia at Sri Guru Ganesha Nature Cure Sanatorium, in Chennai. There I had seen first hand how nature could help people over come all types of health issues from Chronic cold to cancer, including diabetes, mental disturbances, etc).
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