We all can use a boost to our healing force during these challenging times. Hydrotherapy (or “water cure”) refers to the therapeutic use of water to stimulate the body’s healing force. Many beneficial changes take place in the body in response to warm or cold water hydrotherapy. These changes depend upon the purpose of treatment, areas of the body to which hydrotherapy is applied, and temperature of the water used. For example, hydrotherapy can be immersion of the whole body, except the head, or local applications such as to the legs, feet, or core. For reducing activation of the adrenal glands and the stress-response system, the beneficial effects of hydrotherapy can include:

  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increasing circulation of antioxidants in the blood
  • Reducing level of free radicals 
  • Increasing production of anti-inflammatory agents in the body
  • Reducing pain, spasm, or tension
  • Feeling relief from depressed or anxious emotions

Hydrotherapy may also help to detoxify metals, pesticides and herbicides, and other toxic buildup from improper diet and lifestyle.

Should You perform Constitutional Hydrotherapy on Your Own?

While constitutional hydrotherapy can be done by yourself at home with specialized equipment, for maximum benefit it should be performed by a knowledgeable practitioner. The process can be as simple as alternating applications of hot, wet towels with layers of blankets, and application of cold wet towels. The application of warmth dilates blood vessels and allows blood to flow to the area. The cold application constricts the blood vessels. Due to the elasticity in the blood vessels, rebound vasodilation (dilation of the blood vessels) occurs. The alternating hot and cold applications create a pumping action in the vessels, improving blood flow and lymphatic movement/drainage. This is often done around the abdomen and chest. The duration and frequency of alternating temperatures is determined by your practitioner.

Other forms of hydrotherapy can easily be utilized at home on different areas of the body to successfully treat various ailments. These forms include contrast hydrotherapy, full body baths, foot baths, sitz baths, steam inhalations, hot compresses, saunas and compresses, poultices, and hot or cold packs.

If you are interested in constitutional hydrotherapy to facilitate relief from adrenal health conditions, speak to your holistic health practitioner.

Resources
Boyle, W., and A. Saine. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. (1988) East Palestine, Ohio: Buckeye Naturopathic Press.
Mooventhan, A. and L. Nivethitha “Scientific Evidence­Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body.” N Am J Med Sci. (2014 May;) 6(5): 199–209. doi: 10.4103/1947­2714.132935 
 Metcalfe, R. Sanitas Sanitatum et Omnia Sanitas. Vol. 1. London: Co-operative Printing Company: 1877.
 Rausse, J. H., and C. H. Meeker. The Water-Cure, Applied to Every Known Disease with an Appendix, Containing a Water Diet and Rules for Bathing. New York: Fowlers and Wells: 1850.