Hydrotherapy — what is it?

In its basic form, hydrotherapy is a type of warm or cold water massage that helps relieve pain. Hydrotherapy uses the temperature and pressure of water to offer relief from symptoms. While hydrotherapy can take many forms, often it uses under water jetted massage (as in a hot tub).

When was hydrotherapy invented?

Hydrotherapy dates back to Ancient Greece. Hippocrates documented his early use of hydrotherapy and referred to the treatment as hydropathy. The Greeks were not the only people to use hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy was also used by the Ancient Chinese, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations. Hydrotherapy gained popularity over time and came to the United States in the 1840s. Hydrotherapy has evolved in the United States, and now encompasses many different forms. People love hydrotherapy so much that they even started using it to treat their dogs. Today there are even canine hydrotherapy facilities across the country.

How is hydrotherapy practiced?

There are many techniques that people use to enjoy hydrotherapy benefits. A simple and common technique is the use of a cold or hot compress for muscle pain, headaches, or fevers. Wraps, like compresses, involve wrapping a water soaked sheet around a part of the body. A second layer of towels or hot blankets added to the wrap can treat anything from a fever to skin disorders. Hot tubs and spas are a huge part of hydrotherapy practices and offer many benefits. The hot water helps relieve sore muscles, and sports-related injuries. It may provide temporary relief for arthritis symptoms. The jet streams help ease other types of symptoms, including emotional or mental stress. Hot tubs are a great way to enjoy hydrotherapy benefits at home. When a person's body is completely submerged in water, they have a weightless feeling.. This relief from the pressure of gravity gives muscles and joints a respite from pain. Exercising in water also takes this concept of weightlessness and applies it to activity. Water based exercise reduces pressure on joints and muscles.

What are the health benefits of hydrotherapy?

At its most basic level, hydrotherapy can help relieve stress and assist people to relax and let go of worry. Hydrotherapy also reduces aches and pains including sore muscles, and joint stiffness.

Some hydrotherapy benefits may include:

  • increase blood flow in the body
  • reduce aches and pains of sore muscles
  • relieve joint stiffness
  • ease common cold symptoms (clearing airways)
  • assist with issues related to hypertension
  • relief from headaches

Hydrotherapy is a long, storied practice that can assist people in many ways. One of the easiest ways to practice hydrotherapy is to bring a hot tub into your own home and use it daily. Hot tubs are one of the most common ways to reap the wellness benefits of hydrotherapy!