The Top Benefits of Hydrotherapy

The Top Benefits of HydrotherapyWater is truly the elixir of life, powering our bodies and replenishing our cells every hour of the day. While water strengthens us from the inside, it can also strengthen our bodies from the outside. Hydrotherapy revolves around utilizing water for a variety of health benefits and has been used throughout history to treat a variety of ailments.

Let’s dive into the details!

What Exactly Is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is known by several names, including water therapy or aquatic therapy. This type of therapy utilizes water to assist patients in a variety of ways, depending on what the desired outcomes are. These exercises can be performed for relaxation, strength training, physical rehabilitation, or both mental and physical therapy. They are usually overseen by an aquatic therapist who guides the patient through motions and exercises.

How Does Hydrotherapy Help Patients?

Depending on what a patient’s goals are, hydrotherapy can help patients achieve their short- and long-term goals.

If you’ve every floated in a pool or the ocean, you understand the feeling of weightlessness and buoyancy the water gives you. This characteristic of water is what makes hydrotherapy so valuable for patients with restrictions on the weight their bodies can bear. People who have recently undergone surgery who are supposed to minimize the pressure they place on a joint, such as their knee or hip, or even people trying to lose weight without the high impact of walking or running, can benefit greatly from hydrotherapy.

Running on land versus running through even a foot of water makes a big difference in how you power yourself forward. If you’ve ever tried walking while in the shallow end of a pool, you can understand the resistance water creates. Water provides a steady resistance level for patients who can’t necessarily lift weights but who need some type of strength training to promote muscle growth. Create your own water workout or find one online that works for you.

Regardless of whether a patient is using hydrotherapy for a physical ailment or for mental health, patients can work toward lowering anxiety levels through exercise as well as relaxation practices. Many patients find the water to be soothing.

Who Does Hydrotherapy Help?

The beauty of hydrotherapy is that it can be used on a variety of patients for a spectrum of reasons. There are two basic types of hydrotherapy: active and passive. Hydrotherapy such as water aerobics is proven to reduce stress, increase stamina and develop muscle mass – this activity would be considered an active hydrotherapy. A passive hydrotherapy would be a hot bath with warm jets to help ease the chronic pain of someone who suffers with fibromyalgia.

Whether you’re extremely active in sports or you’re just taking a swimming lesson for fun, hydrotherapy covers an expansive range of water activities. Here is a short list of some of the other ailments hydrotherapy helps address:

  • postpartum depression
  • neurological disorders
  • chronic pain
  • weight-bearing restrictions
  • post-surgical therapy
  • sports therapy
  • stress reduction
  • weight loss

What Are the Types of Hydrotherapy?

The versatility of hydrotherapy makes it one of the best forms of therapy available to patients regardless of whether they are an elderly person working to recover from a surgery or a high-profile athlete looking to build stamina.

 Just as changes in water pressure can affect a person, submersing a patient in hot or cold water has varying affects depending on their symptoms. Patients who undergo a warm or hot hydrotherapy session will find their muscles relax and their blood vessels expand to account for the rise in temperature their body is undergoing. Hot water also creates steam, which can help expand the lungs and make breathing easier for someone who is congested. Hot water therapy can also:

  • Reduce pain from arthritis or aching joints
  • Improve sleep
  • Heal muscle strains and sprains
  • Removal of toxins from the body
  • Increase endorphins to improve mood and assist the healing process

Cold-water therapy constricts blood vessels, which reduces blood flow throughout the body. Because cold water is a shock to the system, a patient will feel much more alert and awake versus warm hydrotherapy. Cold hydrotherapy can also numb areas of the body and reduce inflammation to keep pain at bay. Cold water therapies can also:

  • Reduce the visibility of varicose veins
  • Alleviate symptoms of depression
  • Treat migraines and headaches
  • Reduce swelling in an area of the body
  • Invigorate the senses

For hydrotherapy to work, a patient does not have to be immersed or submerged in water. Sitting in a sauna or steam room can be considered a form of hydrotherapy. For a homeopathic treatment, herbs and essential oils may be added to the water for inhalation, which can help with allergies, congestion from an illness and stress reduction. When combined with other ingredients, the herbs and oils create a paste that can be applied to a certain area of the body for joint or muscle relief if the patient is in pain.

There are several methods of hydrotherapy, some of which are so simple you can even do in your home. Drawing a warm bath with rose petals and aromatherapy beads is a form of hydrotherapy that is easy to do at home without seeing a specialist. You also can try your own hot and cold shower therapy right in the comfort of your own home. These simple daily rituals can alleviate stress to promote a restful night’s sleep or wake you up and get you ready to make the most of the day ahead of you.

Before you explore any hydrotherapy options, talk with your doctor to see what is right for you. Your doctor may be able to direct you to a specialist in hydrotherapy.

Megan Ray Nichols

Megan Ray Nichols

Freelance Writer. Amateur Astronomer. Science enthusiast. She loves to travel. Bookworm and a huge fan of all things nerdy, geeky and unusual.
Megan Ray Nichols

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  1. James says:

    You’ve put together a nice article on water therapy. I’ve already done it, and it helped me a lot to get rid of lower back pain.

  2. Thanks for the kind remarks. After researching this, I think I might try it if the inflammation in my wrists flares up again.

  3. Thanks for sharing the health benefits of this therapy.

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