Hydrotherapy: How it can improve your health

Lifestyle Sunday 03/January/2016 11:38 AM
By: Times News Service
Hydrotherapy: How it can improve your health

If you’ve promised yourself you’ll become a new, healthier you in the New Year, good for you! You’ll probably work to improve your eating habits, exercise more and reduce stress. You might also consider a time-honoured, effective tactic that’s resurfaced among health-minded Americans - hydrotherapy.

Ancient people in the Middle East, Asia and North America all practised hydrotherapy in the form of warm baths, steam rooms, and sweat lodges.

Many modern hydrotherapy techniques are rooted in the work of a 19th century Bavarian monk, who believed swimming in cold rivers a few times a week helped cure his patients from a variety of ills. Modern hydrotherapy can be much more luxurious, and still prove effective.

Hydrotherapy is used to address a variety of health concerns, from simple stress relief and easing sore or strained muscles, to slowing inflammation, boosting hormonal function and improving circulation to internal organs. It can also be combined with massage to deliver even more health benefits.

Hydrotherapy employs both hot and cold water, and sometimes both in sequence. Typical experiences include saunas and steam baths, foot baths, compresses, and showers, including Vichy showers.

These treatments combine the health benefits of traditional hydrotherapy techniques with modern enhancements that enrich the relaxation and wellbeing of the patient. While you can do basic hydrotherapy elements at home, treatments delivered by a professional can also be a valuable part of your overall wellness plan in the New Year. Here are some to consider:

Vichy shower
The Vichy shower experience allows one to relax while enjoying a cascade of water over the body. Therapists are able to set temperature and pressure through a control panel. This means the therapist never has to take his or her hands off the guest in order to adjust water pressure or temperature while the treatment is underway.

Warm and cool temperatures
Some hydrotherapy experiences leverage the power of warm and cool temperatures to enhance muscle relaxation and detoxification, reduce inflammation and boost metabolism. An anti-stress pressure point facial massage and cool stone eye treatment enhance the relaxation, and a refreshing citrus moisturiser concludes the experience.

Saunas and steam baths are among the oldest forms of hydrotherapy. The heat from a sauna dilates blood vessels and can improve circulation. Steam can also help open airways and improve respiration, increasing blood oxygen levels. Because a steam bath or sauna also induces you to sweat, they’re thought to help release toxins from the body.

Blended treatments
Many modern hydrotherapy experiences also incorporate other wellness techniques such as massage and exfoliation. — Courtesy of Brandpoint