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Monday, February 18, 2013

Hydrotherapy and Therapeutic Baths

 

Good Morning!

Hydrotherapy and Therapeutic Baths

Water has been worshiped, loved and used since time began. Water and it's
therapeutic values have been used in all ancient civilizations and bathing was
considered an important part for the maintenance of health and prevention of
disease. It was also valued for its remedial properties.

The ancient Vedic literature in India contains numerous references to the
efficacy of water in the treatment of disease. In more recent times, the
therapeutic value of water was popularized by the Europeans. They raised water
cures to an institutional level and employed it successfully for the treatment
of almost every known disease. There are numerous spas in most European
countries where therapeutic baths are used as a major healing approach.

Water creates beneficial effects on the human body. It equalizes circulation,
boosts muscular tone and assists digestion and nutrition. It also tones up the
activity of perspiratory gland and in the process eliminates the damaged cells
and toxic matter from the system.

The common water temperature is: cold 50F to 65F, neutral 89.6F to 96.8F and hot
104F to 113F. Above 113F, water loses its therapeutic value and is destructive.

Water treatments can be used in the healing of various diseases in a
do-it-yourself manner.

COLD COMPRESS

This is a local application using a cloth which has been wrung out in cold
water. The cloth should be folded into a strip and dipped in cold water or ice
water. The compress is generally applied to the head, neck, chest, abdomen and
back. The cold compress is an effective means of controlling inflammatory
conditions of the liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys, intestines, lungs, brain,
eyes and pelvic organs. It is also advantageous in cases of fever and heart
disease.

HEATING COMPRESS

This is a hot compress covered in such a manner as to bring warmth. A heating
compress consists of three or four folds of linen cloth wrung out in hot water
which is then covered completely with dry flannel or blanket to prevent the
circulation of air and help accumulation of body heat. It is sometimes applied
for several hours. The duration of the application is determined by the extent
and location of the surface involved, the nature and thickness of the coverings
and the water temperature. After removing the compress, the area should be
rubbed with a wet cloth and then dried with a towel. A heating compress can be
applied to the throat, chest, abdomen, and joints. A throat compress relieves
sore throat, hoarseness, tonsillitis, laryngitis and laryngitis. An abdominal
compress helps those suffering from gastritis, hyperacidity, indigestion,
jaundice, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery and other ailments relating to the
abdominal organs. The chest compress also known as chest pack, relieves cold,
bronchitis, pleurisy, pneumonia, fever, cough and so on, while the joints
compress is helpful for inflamed joints, rheumatism, rheumatic fever and
sprains.

ENEMA

Also known as rectal irrigation, an enema involves the injection of fluid into
the rectum. In nature cure treatment, only lukewarm water is used for cleaning
the bowels. The patient is made to lie on his left side extending his left leg
and bending the right leg slightly. The enema nozzle, lubricated with oil or
Vaseline, is inserted in the rectum. The enema can containing the lukewarm water
is then slowly raised and water is allowed to enter into the rectum. Generally,
one to two liters of water is injected. The patient may either lie down on his
back or walk a little while retaining the water. After five to 10 minutes, the
water can be released.

A warm water enema helps to clean the rectum of accumulated fecal matter. This
is not only the safest system for cleaning the bowels, but also improves the
peristaltic movement of the bowels and thereby relieves constipation. A cold
water enema is helpful in inflammatory conditions of the colon, especially in
cases of dysentery, diarrhea, ulcerative colitis, hemorrhoids and fever. A hot
water enema is beneficial in relieving irritation due to inflammation of the
rectum.

HIP BATHS

The hip bath is one of the most useful forms of hydrotherapy. As the name
suggests, this mode of treatment involves only the hips and the abdominal region
below the navel. The tub is filled with water in such a way that it covers the
hips and reaches up to the navel when the patient sits in it. Generally, four to
six gallons of water are required. Hip bath is given in cold, hot, neutral or
alternate temperatures.

**Cold hip bath is a routine treatment in most diseases. The water temperature
should be 50F to 65F. The duration of the bath is usually 10 minutes. It
relieves constipation, indigestion and helps the eliminative organs to function
properly. It is also helpful in uterine problems like irregular menstruation,
chronic uterine infections, pelvic inflammation, piles, hepatic congestion,
chronic congestion of the prostate gland, seminal weakness, impotency,
sterility, uterine and ovarian displacements, dilation of the stomach and colon,
diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhage of the bladder. The cold hip bath should not be
used in acute inflammations of the pelvic and abdominal organs, ovaries and in
painful contractions of the bladder, rectum or vagina.

**Hot hip bath helps to relieve painful menstruation, pain in the pelvic organs,
painful urination, inflamed rectum or bladder and painful piles. This bath is
generally taken for eight to 10 minutes at a water temperature of 104F to 113F.
The bath should start at 104F. The temperature should be gradually increased to
113F. This also benefits enlarged prostatic gland, painful contractions or spasm
of the bladder, sciatica, neuralgia of the ovaries and bladder. A cold shower
bath should be taken immediately after the hot hip bath. Care should be taken to
prevent the patient from catching a chill after the bath.

**Neutral hip bath helps to relieve all acute and subacute inflammatory
conditions such as acute catarrh of the bladder and urethra and subacute
inflammations in the uterus, ovaries and tubes. This bath is generally taken for
20-40 minutes. It also relieves neuralgia of the fallopian tubes or testicles,
painful spasms of the vagina and prorates of the anus and vulva. It is also a
sedative treatment.

**Alternative hip bath. This is also known as revulsive hip bath. The
temperature in the hot tub should be 104F to 113F and in the cold tub 50F to
65F. The patient should alternate between sit in the hot tub for five minutes
and then in the cold tub for three minutes. The duration of the bath is
generally 10 to 20 minutes. The head and neck should be kept cold with a cold
compress. The treatment should end with a dash of cold water to the hips. This
bath relieves chronic inflammatory conditions of the pelvic viscera such as
ovaritis, cellulitis and various neuralgia of the genito-urinary organs,
sciatica and lumbago.

**Immersion bath. This is also known as full bath. It is taken in a bath tub
which should be properly fitted with hot and cold water. The bath can be taken
at cold, neutral, hot, graduated and alternate temperatures.

HOT FOOT BATHS

In this method, the patient should keep his or her legs in a tub or bucket
filled with hot water at a temperature of 104F to 113F. Before taking this bath,
a glass of water should be taken and the body should be covered with a blanket
so that no heat or vapor escapes from the foot bath. The head should be
protected with a cold compress. The duration of the bath is generally from 5 to
20 minutes. The patient should take a cold shower immediately after the bath.
The hot foot bath stimulates the involuntary muscles of the uterus, intestines,
bladder and other pelvic and abdominal organs. It also relieves sprains and
ankle joint pains, headaches caused by cerebral congestion and colds.

COLD FOOT BATH

Three to four inches of cold water at a temperature of 45F to 55F should be
placed in a small tub or bucket. The feet should be completely immersed in the
water for one to five minutes. A cold foot bath, taken for one or two minutes,
relieves cerebral congestion and uterine hemorrhage. It also helps in the
treatment of sprains, strains and inflamed bunions when taken for longer
periods. It should not be taken in cases of inflammatory conditions of the
genito-urinary organs, liver and kidneys.

STEAM BATH

Steam bath is one of the most important time-tested water treatments which
induces perspiration in a most natural way. The patient sit on a stool inside a
specially designed cabinet or a steam room. Before entering, the patient should
drink one or two glasses of cold water. The duration of the steam bath is
generally 10 to 20 minutes or until perspiration takes place. A cold shower
should be taken immediately after the bath. Very weak patients, pregnant women,
cardiac patients and those suffering from high blood pressure should avoid this
bath. If the patient feels uneasy during the steam bath, he or she should be
immediately taken out and given a glass of cold water and the face washed with
cold water.

The steam bath helps to eliminate matter from the surface of the skin. It also
improves circulation of the blood and tissue activity. It relieves rheumatism,
gout, and uric acid problems. The steam bath is helpful in all forms of chronic
toxemia. It also relieves neuralgia, Chronic nephritis, infections, and
migraine.

EPSOM SALT BATH

The immersion bath tub should be filled with about 5-6 gallons of hot water at
104F. Epsom salt should be dissolved in this water. The patient should
completely immersing the trunk, thighs and legs for 15 to 20 minutes. The best
time to take this bath is just before bed. This is useful in cases of sciatica,
lumbago, rheumatism, diabetes, neuritis, cold and catarrh, kidney disorders and
other uric acid and skin affections.

Precautions:
Certain precautions are necessary while taking these therapeutic baths. Full
baths should be avoided within three hours after a meal and one hour before it.
Local baths like the hip bath and foot bath may, however, be taken two hours
after a meal. Clean and pure water must be used for baths and water once used
should not be used again. While taking baths, temperature and duration should be
strictly observed to obtain the desired effects. A thermometer should always be
used to measure the temperature of the body. Women should not take any of the
baths during menstruation. They can take only hip baths during pregnancy till
the completion of the third month.

Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
http://www.peacefulmind.com/body_skin.htm
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit

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