Hydrotherapy is essentially the use of water (water therapy) to stimulate healing. Hydrotherapy dates back to the 18th century, was successfully brought to the United States by John Harvey Kellogg and has been a mainstay of naturopathic treatment for over a century. There are numerous types of hydrotherapy and these treatments are individualized based on the patient’s ailments. Some of these include ice packs, constitutional hydrotherapy, colonics, enemas, castor oil packs, warming socks, and sitz baths. Medicine has long recognized the effects of water temperature on blood flow; warm applications to relax a tight muscle or ice packs to reduce inflammation. Naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy further expands on these principles by targeting a specific area and increasing the blood flow to this area for optimal organ function.
Warming Socks Treatment
Warming socks treatment (another hydrotherapy technique) is a basic contrasting hot and cold application that can be done at home overnight. It is useful for colds and flu, fever and ear infections. Children and older folks respond especially well to this treatment.
Constitutional hydrotherapy is utilized to increase blood flow to the vital organs in the thorax. This is accomplished by applying alternating hot and cold temperatures to the front and back of the thorax (neck to 3 inches below the navel). We use these basic mechanical effects to influence the quantity and quality of blood flow through the organs and tissues. This is often done in combination with Sine wave stimulation. Sine wave is a low voltage alternating current (small electrical impulses) that when applied to targeted locations chosen by your physician, results in long, slow, gentle contractions of the underlying muscles, enhancing the therapeutic benefits of the treatment.
Organs such as the kidneys and pancreas along with adrenal and lymph glands can be stimulated, increasing lymphatic flow with positive effects on the immune system. The liver can be encouraged to increase the production of bile and the gallbladder to release more of the bile into the colon for removal. The combination of these two processes will increase the elimination of toxic wastes by driving circulation into the liver, lungs, kidneys, skin and colon, enhancing immune response, increasing detoxification, increasing nutrients into the cells and balancing the nervous system.
Looking at the blood as a vehicle of supplying oxygen, vitamins and minerals to all cells, Naturopathic Constitutional Hydrotherapy manipulates the circulation in order to maximize the benefits of optimal circulation for overall health and healing. The therapy takes an hour to complete and can be utilized for treatment of insomnia, cold/flu, nervous system disorders, detoxification, infertility, digestive tract problems (Chron’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome), PMS, Arthritis, Diabetes, Hypertension, and Circulatory problems (varicose veins, Raynaud’s disease).
A single treatment may be all that is needed for an acute illness such as a cold or ear infection, but a series of treatments may be needed for more chronic problems.