Hydrotherapy is the use of different states of water and at different temperatures e.g liquid, solid, steam hot or cold to work on the body with the aim of enhancing the action of the embedded defensive and healing powers within the human body. The use of water in various forms as a means of manipulating energy and blood flow in the body is almost as old as humanity.
To get the maximum benefit of this therapy, one needs to properly educated about the effects created by different forms of water in the human body, as to be in a better position to know what to do as the need arises. Human beings tend to follow quick-fix method of treatment, i.e by taking drugs whenever any symptom shows up in their body.
This practice is not very good in the sense that the chemical component of these drugs end up weakening the body defensive system, thus rendering the body more susceptible to diseases afflictions. Hydrotherapy stimulates the body to strengthen internal resistance and defensive system so as to prevent or cure diseases. Through the use of hydrotherapy, the body is able to protect itself against diseases. Hydrotherapy assist the whole body in so many ways:
– Enhances efficient blood circulation in the body.
– It empowers over-all performance of the hormonal system.
– It strengthens the nervous system.
– It raises the power of the defensive system and enhances higher resistance ability to cold.
– It stimulates sound sleep.
– Neutralises depression. Etc
Effects of Cold Water Application
Water at different temperature produces different effects in the human body. Cold water has the following effects on the human body. As stated earlier, hydrotherapy is a means of manipulating energy and blood flow in the body to achieve some desired effects. When cold water is applied to the body, it stimulates the blood vessels to contract, thus reducing the flow of blood through the skin. Immediately after this, it is necessary to cover up or do exercise. This will produce reactive action by causing the blood vessels to dilate, thus generating greater blood flow to the skin.
Effects of Hydrotherapy on Different System of the Body
Respiratory system: Taking full bath in the pool is of great benefit to the respiratory system as it facilitates breathing. It dilates the bronchial vessels and emphysema thus working towards elimination of bronchial asthma and bronchiectasis. Taking a warm bath for a long time leads to quick and shallow breathing, whereas long cold bath leads to slow and deep breathing.
The Blood: Both White (leucocytes) and red (erythrocytes) blood corpuscles are drawn out from the bone marrow and spleen to increase volume in the blood vessels. Taking cold bath for some weeks is known to fight and reverse anaemia and increase the power to fight and reverse anaemia and increase the power of the immune system; these are due to the increase in the red and white blood corpuscles within the blood vessels.
Cardiovascular System: When cold or very hot water is applied on the skin, initially it causes the blood vessels to contract which in effect reduces the amount of blood flow through the skin. If it is in a pool of water, the pressure of the water on the skin reduces the blood flow to the skin further. This causes blood flow to be diverted towards the inside of the body and to the heart in particular.
On the other hand, hot and warm water application causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate, leading to decrease in the internal blood pressure due to increase in blood flow to the skin which takes most of the loads off the heart and other internal organs of the body. The pressure exerted on the surface of the body prevents excessive accumulation of the blood on the skin. It is not advisable to stay in the pool for too long as this may lead to hypotension (low blood pressure) on coming out, it may take some times to stabilised.
Metabolism: Cold bath or application of cold water increases the metabolic process to release more heat to the body. Thus taking cold bath is a bonus to the process of metabolism.
Muscles: Alternate application of very cold and hot water (not to the extent of harming the body) on the body for a short time aids in toning up the muscles thus enhancing higher efficiency.
Nervous System: Water applied at very hot or very cold temperature affects the autonomous nervous system positively stimulating them to perform proficiently. Lukewarm water affects the central nervous system to relax, thus stimulating deep sleep. Parasympathetic nervous system is favourably disposed to function efficiently under hot water treatment.
Urinary System: Cold or very hot water applied locally stimulates the kidney to produce more urine. Bathing with warm water for a long time also stimulates the kidney to secrete more urine. Application of warm water to the lower area of the abdomen stimulates the muscles to relax thus relieving spasm in the sphineter of the bladder caused by prostrate or cystitis disorder.