For those interested in accessing the growing number of holistic alternatives to more traditional health interventions, hydrotherapy involves the use of water to treat and cure both diseases and pain. A hydrotherapy pool alters exercise intensity, increases buoyancy, and promotes increases in circulation and flexibility as well as decreases in swelling. Hydrotherapy treatments may also use hot fomentation (poultices) and steam rooms. Hydrotherapy plays an important role in the management of surgical patients, especially so in those that have sustained burns to their skin. Different centres in Zambia practice hydrotherapy differently.
Classification and Types of Hydrotherapy
This type involves the application of water or ice to the body or immersion of the body in water whereas temperature-based hydrotherapy involves various effects of cold or hot water on the skin and underlying tissues. Hot water helps relax muscles and causes sweating, and is very helpful to treat poor circulation, sore muscles, arthritis, and rheumatism by using the combination of aromatherapy. Coldwater hydrotherapy helps in stimulating underlying muscles and blood flow in the skin. Treatments based on temperature include the application of cold or moist heat to particular parts of the body. Treatment with moist heat is called fomentation and is helpful for conditions such as flu, arthritis, or chest cold whereas cold compresses or ice packs help with headaches, dental surgery, or sprains. Body packs are helpful for detoxification and to calm psychiatric patients.
Internal hydrotherapy includes colonic irrigation and enemas. Steam baths are a type of internal hydrotherapy. Colonic irrigation is an enema that is used for cleansing the entire bowel. It is believed to cure a number of digestive problems.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy can be very useful in treating many different types of soft tissue and bone injury as well as neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy.
The benefits of hydrotherapy include:
Uses of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy may be useful in the following conditions: