MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information
For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.
The ancient Greeks believed that water contained the essence of life and the secret of health. In hydrotherapy, water is used internally and externally in all its forms - hot and cold, as liquid, steam, or ice - to cleanse, revitalize, restore, and maintain health. Traditionally, hydrotherapy consisted of baths, saunas, and compresses, but in modern times, whirlpools and water jets have been introduced. An established part of conventional medicine until the beginning of the 20th century, hydrotherapy has long been practiced by naturopaths, and is now enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
MAIN USES OF HYDROTHERAPY
Muscle & joint pain. Backache, muscle strains & sprains. Stress, anxiety. Circulatory problems. Asthma, bronchitis. Cystitis. Fevers. Headaches, fatigue Menstrual problems.
Spas have been popular since Roman times, both as a form of diversion and as a healing therapy. This 19th century photograph show a patient receiving a massage with mineral water in Vichy, France, where spa waters have long been taken both internally and externally.
HISTORY OF HYDROTHERAPY
The therapeutic properties of water have been valued throughout history by societies around the world, from the Chinese to the Native Americans. In ancient Greece, temples to Asklepios, god of medicine, were built near hot springs. In New Zealand, natural hot springs have been used for centuries to improve health.
No Roman town was deemed complete without baths where citizens could enjoy hot, cold, and tepid immersions. In many towns, such as Baden-Baden in Germany, Spa in Belgium, and Bath in the UK, the practice of "taking the waters" at natural springs has continued to the present day. The first serious medical use of the therapy was probably made by Vincent Priessnitz, who opened a spa in the early 19th century at Grafenburg, Austria.
Steam baths became very popular in the 19th century, and are still used today. They make the body sweat, which is said to expel impurities through the pores of the skin.
The true pioneer of hydrotherapy, however, was Father Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th century Bavarian monk who claimed that water could cure disease by improving the elimination of waste products from the body. His patients followed a program of hot and cold baths and compresses, foot baths, sitz baths, steam baths, showers, and wraps - techniques still in use today.
In Germany and a number of eastern European countries, hydrotherapy is still widespread and is often subsidized by the government. It is an important part of naturopathy, which is popular in the US and Australia, and has gained a reputation as a cheap therapy with few side effects.
KEY PRINCIPLES OF HYDROTHERAPY
Water has a remarkable ability to alter the body's blood flow, and this can be manipulated by varying its temperature. Cold water is stimulating. It makes surface blood vessels constrict, restricting blood flow and inhibiting the biochemical reactions that cause inflammation. It sends blood toward the internal organs, helping them to function more efficiently. Hot water, conversely, is relaxing. It dilates blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure and increases blood flow to the skin and muscles, easing stiffness. The improved circulation boosts the immune system, helps remove waste products from the body, and sends more oxygen and nutrients to the tissues to repair damage.
Some therapies use hot and cold water alternately. This is said to stimulate the hormonal system, reduce circulatory congestion caused by muscle spasm, and relieve inflammation. Floating in warm water, unburdened by gravity, can also be mentally soothing.
EVIDENCE & RESEARCH
European studies in 1995 found that warm underwater jet massage enhanced athletes' performances. American research in 1991 showed that hydrotherapy was helpful for varicose veins, while two studies in Israel indicated that mud and mineral baths were beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis. A 1986 study published in the British Medical Journal concluded that sitz baths were helpful in healing anal fissures.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICAL OPINION
The effect of water as a vehicle for heat and cold is obvious. Recently, conventional medicine has expressed renewed interest in the ability of water temperature to affect body tissues, and in its bouyant and stimulating properties, as used in physiotherapy. Hydrotherapy is an example of a therapy that is not as far removed from conventional practice as it may appear.
CONSULTING A PRACTITIONER
Hydrotherapy is usually practiced at health farms and spas, particularly those founded on naturopathic principles, and you are most likely to visit one if referred by a naturopath. Treatments are diverse and will depend on your condition. They may include some of the following:
HIGH POWERED JETS
Hot or cold water is directed at your back for about 2 to 3 minutes as you face the wall, holding supports. Jets are said to stimulate the circulation and internal organs, and are used for anemia, amenorrhea, angina, arthritis, and asthma.
Immersing the body in pressurized bubbles for about 15 minutes soothes and massages the body and is also believed to treat sores, infected wounds, swellings, and circulatory problems.
Sitz baths - Two hip baths are placed side by side, one filled with hot and the other with cold water. The patient sits in them alternately, three minutes in hot water and one minute in cold, with the feet in the opposite bath.
This treatment uses two hip baths, and may benefit hemorrhoids, menstrual problems, cystitis, incontinence, and prolapse. Two hip baths are placed side by side, one filled with hot and the other with cold water. The patient sits in them alternately, three minutes in hot water and one minute in cold, with the feet in the opposite bath.
THERAPEUTIC HERBS, OILS & MINERALS
Thereapeutic herbs, oils and minerals can be added to a warm bath for added health benefits.
HOT or WARM BATHS
Soaking in hot water (about 100°F / 38°C) for about 20 to 30 minutes is believed to help arthritic conditions. Therapeutic herbs, oils, and minerals can be added to a warm bath. These include Epsom salts to relieve swollen joints and relax muscles, finely blended oatmeal or bran (possibly added in a muslin bag) to soothe the skin, and mineral "muds" and extracts, such as Dead Sea salts, to nourish the skin.
Seaweed (fresh or powdered) can be added to water or applied as a wrap for added healing properties.
Seawater treatments (thalassotherapy) have healthful benefits. Seawater is said to have healing properties, and minerals in seaweed are believed to induce sweating, cleanse and tone the skin, and promote relaxation. Treatments may include seawater jets, seaweed wraps, or seawater or kelp (seaweed) baths.
A cold flannel sheet is wrapped around the body and hot or cold packs enveloped in towels are placed on top. The patient is then covered with a warm blanket and left for 30 minutes. This form of constitutional treatment is used to aid circulation and stimulate the immune system, to treat problems such as viral illnesses and long-term fatigue.
Cold, wet flannel sheets are wrapped around your body, then covered with dry towels and finally blankets. After the initial shock, the body warms up rapidly, drying the sheets. Wraps promote sweating, which is said to flush out waste products, and may be used for fever, colds, bronchitis, back pain, and skin disorders.
Towels are soaked in hot or cold water, wrung out and applied to the affected area of the body. Hot compresses increase blood flow, make the body sweat, and ease stiff muscles. Cold ones restrict circulation, reducing inflammation.
A steam cabinet can induce sweating to relieve impurities and relieve water retention.
TURKISH BATHS, STEAM ROOMS & STEAM CABINETS
Sitting in a hot, steamy room for up to 1 hour, induces sweating, eliminating impurities and relieving water retention.
A hot, dry environment encourages sweating.
Saunas are similar to Turkish baths but generate dry rather than humid heat. A dry, hot environment (above 100°F / 38°C) encourages sweating, which helps the body to eliminate waste products. A dip into a plunge pool or a cold shower is advised every 5 to 10 minutes during the sauna and at the end of the sauna.
Many treatments, such as compresses and ice packs, are simple to carry out at home. A hot compress eases back or abdominal pain and muscle tension. Wring out a small towel in very hot water, fold it, and apply it to the affected area, alternating it with a cold compress, which restricts circulation and is useful for sprains and swollen joints. Use very cold water and leave for several hours or overnight. An ice pack relieves swelling and pain in emergencies. Place a towel or a drop of oil on the skin to avoid freezer burn, then apply ice, or even a package of frozen peas, wrapped in a cloth, to the affected area and leave for 10 minutes.
Avoid hot baths, steam baths, and saunas if you have high blood pressure, angina, or heart disease.
Avoid steam baths or sitz baths in the first three months of pregnancy, and limit steam treatments to a maximum of 10 minutes for the remaining months.
Avoid steam treatment if you are postoperative, epileptic, asthmatic, or have a history of thrombosis.
Avoid seaweed if you are allergic to iodine, and do not add ingredients to a bath if you have an open wound.
Consult your health care provider before embarking on any therapy treatment if you have any medical condition, symptoms of illness, you are pregnant or are trying to concieve. Consult your health care provider before allowing infants and children to receive complimentary treatments. Some treatments may be unsuitable for small children. See your health care provider if symptoms persist or worsen.
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Hydrotherapy Information & Techniques
MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Herbal Baths Recipes Index
MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information: Therapy Index
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINAL THERAPIES
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Naturopathy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Hydrotherapy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Homeopathy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Homeopathic Remedies
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Homeopathic Potencies
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Biochemic Tissue Salts
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Bach Flower Remedies
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Crystal Therapy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Western Herbalism
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Chinese Herbalism
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Ayurveda
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Nutritional Therapies
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Orthomolecular Therapy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Clinical Ecology
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Magnetic Therapy
MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Other Therapies
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction
NUTRITION BASICS ARTICLES
MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
For a full list of available products from Mountain Rose Herbs, click on banner below:
MOONDRAGON'S REALM - WEBSITE DIRECTORY
A website map to help you find what you are looking for on MoonDragon.org's Website. Available pages have been listed under appropriate directory headings.