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Hydrotherapy? Good Therapy!
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Hydrotherapy? Good Therapy!

Hydrotherapy is an integral part of Physiotherapy, Athletic Therapy, and even other forms of bodywork and massage. Hydrotherapy healing benefits many different ailments and illnesses. In Complementary and Alternative medicine, hydrotherapy is part of the picture and used successfully in many cases.

In First Aid the expression is RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation for Orthopedic injuries. Ice especially in the first 24 – 72 hours of an acute injury should be used in order to reduce inflammatory process, followed after that by contrast baths, heat for backaches and sore muscles, ice massage, hot or cold jacuzzi or whirlpool, you name it.

The field of Hydrotherapy itself is vast and there are even places in the world where people are educated and certified as Hydrotherapists, helping people rehabilitate and heal through the use of water in its many forms.

Water is known in Chinese element as the "element of life" and in many cultures and parts of the world we know it as the Primordial Element from which all of life originated. Water takes on many shapes and forms and is used in chemical reactions of all sorts as a carrier and environment. As human beings we are made up of about 75% water as adults and of as much as 90% as infants.

We shower, we bathe, we swim, wash our hands, and even go to different types of spas and ritual baths in order to be purified, invigorated, and renewed. Yes, water is used as a basic part of our hygiene, health, nutrition, and even in spiritual and religious life.

Water being so versatile as it is in its different forms, is thus used as a form of therapy to promote health and healing in Hydrotherapy.

Most of my patients suffering from back, neck or shoulder pain use hot water bottles, heating pads, or hot baths and showers to reduce pain and relax muscles.

Mostly for the health of my hair and to invigorate my body, I have in the past showered from very hot, slowly reducing down to freezing cold. Quite uncomfortable but very healthy nonetheless, and good for building up the body's resistance to cold. There are even many so called polar bearing clubs around the world, where people of all ages in the dead of winter, roll in the snow or bathe in icy lakes after having just been in a sauna or steam bath.

I can tell you for myself after having dipped in alpine streams in Switzerland in the spring at 2000 meters that it is quite the experience. One of my favorite spots is pictured here, a pristine, natural, bowl shaped pool at the streams edge next to the bank. It is well worth it if you can just focus on the moment and get yourself to do it, even for a few seconds. The body's reaction immediately after is to heat up, so it's a good idea to stay warm after that (depending on the weather you may need to cover yourself with layers) to maintain that heat reaction.

A couple of years back, when I was suffering from an upper respiratory infection along with sinus issues, a doctor friend of mine told me to shower in an extremely hot shower with lots of steam, and to “blow out” my sinuses. This was very relieving and helpful. Try it sometime. This can relieve sinus headaches by helping you blow your brains out in a good way.

I have swam in lukewarm pools, and then gone immediately for both sauna and steam bath. While everything did seem to open up and things began clearing out of my system, I made the mistake of not drinking enough before, and needed to replenish my fluids afterward. I learned my lesson after becoming weak, dizzy, and tired. So don't forget to drink either!

Both against foot fungus as well as for relaxation and detoxification, I sometimes soak my feet in a very hot mineral bath containing mineral salts from the Salt Sea (from the Hebrew. Dead Sea in English,, but why be negative, right?). This is great for sore feet, plantar fasciitis, and overall stress reduction too. Follow it with a nice deep olive oil foot massage.

In Israel, many have gone, or have been sent to the Salt Sea spas, Ein Gedi, or Tiberias hot springs for the myriads of treatments and therapies: sulfur baths, fresh spring water pools, mud treatments, etc. for different bodily aches, pains and ailments. Not one complaint yet, and people go there from all over the world to experience these treatments.

Needless to say, I always tell people with heart and blood pressure issues to clear it with their physician if they wish to bathe in hot / sulfur baths, plus there are many large warning signs at the given locations as the sulfur can mess up the body's chemistry and affect blood pressure.

So the next time you experience aches or pains or unfortunately suffer from an injury you don't have to go far to help yourself. Reach for the ice, hot water bottle, shower, or bath and enjoy what this basic and useful element in our life has to offer.

Street Talk

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