Since it is the month of the Valentine, we are offering some suggestions for some hydrotherapy self care/self love with the idea of giving our bodies a little tender loving attention that they so deserve! The following are some ideas on how to treat our bodies well with a readily available substance that costs nothing… water!! Hydrotherapy has been a popular form of treatment of “dis-ease” that dates back as far as the Greeks and Romans.
Hydrotherapy works through our skin – our largest organ, and while our skin protects our internal organs, its surface carries stimulation and information to our underlying nerves. Using water to activate these nerves, we can stimulate the immune system, which in turn helps regulate the production of stress hormones, improves digestion, circulation, blood flow and relaxes the body thus reducing sensitivity to pain.
In a way, hydrotherapy is nature’s way of giving us a massage!
Using temperature, water therapy can be used for a variety of results. Heat is used to sooth and relax the body, while cold is used to stimulate our circulation. A combination of the two can be very helpful if inflammation is present or when feeling the effects of stress or fatigue. The combination of hot and cold therapy can be very effective in awakening the body and the mind. The use of jets or other stimulation increases the effectiveness of the use of hydrotherapy by contributing further stimulation to the skin and blood flow. Portable “turbo spas” for your bath can be purchased for a very reasonable prices online.
There are a variety of ways you can use hydrotherapy for your personal benefit.
Some methods are through bathing, a sitz bath, hot and cold compresses, (alternating or used singly), foot baths, friction rubs, showers and body wraps. The most common and most easily accessible form of hydrotherapy is provided right in your own bath tub! Immersing yourself in warm/hot water will instantly relax muscles and sooth joints. Adding one to two cups of epsom salts to your bath will assist in detoxifying and reducing aches and pains in the body. One half cup of epsom salts in a foot bath helps to sooth and detoxify our over-used feet, but also will soften callouses and comfort any swelling and bruising. Adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to your foot bath will leave your feet feeling refreshed and invigorated… and sweeter smelling too!
If you are suffering from pain with muscle spasm and can’t get to your massage therapist, an effective hydrotherapy method is to point a shower head on the area of discomfort with hot water for 3 minutes and then cold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times and this will increase the circulation and decrease the discomfort. This use of combining temperature with water can be applied in a foot bath alternating between hot and cold buckets of water. This will help with cold or flu symptoms as it pumps circulation through the whole body and speeds up the healing response.
Hot and cold compresses are very effective for the treatment of bruising, inflammation, chest colds and the flu. For inflammation and bruising, place a cold pack on the injury and a heat pack above which will help draw the inflammation from the injured area and speed up the healing process. Salt scrubs and body wraps are terrific for detoxifying and are often obtained from a local spa service. But if you just want to treat yourself a little more kindly in the comfort of your home, creating a your own spa by pouring a nice hot bath, adding one to two cups of epsom salts and some drops of essential oils will provide you with a personal spa hydrotherapy treatment that can affect your body on a number of levels. Besides being an excellent form of relaxation, here are some problems that can be treated with hydrotherapy:
- colds and influenza
- arthritis, joint pain and aches and nerve disorders
- stomach and digestion issues
- menopause symptoms
Adding essential oils to your hydrotherapy treatments can also boost the effectiveness of your session and create a specific effect depending on the oils used. Always used pure essential oils. You can determine the purity of your oils by observing whether the bottle has the Latin name of the oil printed underneath the English name. For more expensive essential oils such as rose, frankincense or patchouli oil, often only a percentage of the pure oil is used. The label on the bottle will tell you what you need to know. Here are some delicious, (no, don’t eat them!) recipes for treating yourself to a pleasurable, therapeutic and sensory hydro-therapeutic experience. For the salt component of your recipe, you can use epsom salts, baking soda, dead sea salt or other sea salts.. or combine them!