Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of different temperatures, pressure, and composition for health purposes which prevent and treat diseases and improve the effectiveness of rehabilitation. Depending on the industry and use, some may also refer to the treatments as aquatic therapy, water therapy, or hydropathy. The hydrotherapy types include Water circuit therapy, Aquatic exercise, Aquatic massage, Steam baths, Saunas, Spa, Immersion bath, shower, wet wrap, and other special bath therapy.
Hydrotherapy Treatment Classification by Different Types:
1.Classification By Temperature
- Ice water bath: 0℃～4℃
- Coldwater bath: 5℃～25℃
- Low-temperature water bath: 26℃～32℃
- Non-sensitive water bath: 33℃～35℃
- Warm water bath：36℃～38℃
- Hot water bath: 39℃～42℃
- High heat water bath：＞43℃
2.Classification by Composition of Water
- Sea bath
- Freshwater bath
- Hot spring bath
- Medicine bath
- Mineral bath
- Air bath
3.Classification by Therapy
- Immersion bath.
- Aquatic exercise.
- Aquatic massage.
- Steam baths.
- Wet wrap and other special bath therapy
4.Classification by uses
- Full-body bath
- Local bath (which includes half-body bath, hand bath, foot bath, sitz bath, etc.).
5.Classification by form of movement
- Swimming bath
- Aquatic exercise
Regarding the benefits of ice bath cold therapy, Please click this article to know more
The Physical Properties of Water
- Water has a large heat capacity (specific heat of 1) and has a large thermal conductivity, about 33 times that of air. Easy to dissipate heat and absorb heat, so water is easy for the body to produce temperature stimulation – warm or cold stimulation.
- For the liquid to be in close contact with all parts of the body, is the ideal substance to transmit stimuli.
- Water has large plasticity, can change its form at will, so water can be used for a variety of waysTreatment methods.
- Water is the most commonly used good solvent, can dissolve a variety of drugs, so it can be used to carry out a variety of natural and artificial mineral springs, gas, and water bath therapy, enhance the chemical stimulation of water therapy.
- Water convection phenomenon, low-temperature water to sink, high to float, hydrotherapy when the water and skin contact. Contact with the skin constantly temperature exchange, so there is a significant temperature stimulation.
- The stimulation of the mechanical force of water: buoyancy, pressure, and the impact force generated by artificial pressure.
- Water exists widely in nature and is easily accessible, providing convenient conditions for treatment.
The principle of the Role of Hydrotherapy
According to proponents of hydrotherapy, hot and cold water induce physiologic changes that are beneficial to human health. The essence of the action of hydrotherapy on the human body is to use the medium of water as an exogenous stimulus to change the external environment, and through the regulatory mechanism of nerves – body fluids, causing changes in internal organ function.
The action is mainly determined by the following three aspects.
– Temperature stimulation effect
– Mechanical effect
– Chemical effect
- Temperature action
1.the impact on the circuit therapy
The effect of hydrotherapy on the cardiovascular system is closely related to water temperature, treatment time, location, and stimulation intensity. The local cold compress of the heart can reduce the number of cardiac contractions, but the contractility is strengthened, the pulse is strong, and the blood pressure drops.
Make the whole body cold bath, because of the initial vasoconstriction, can enhance the heart work, cardiac speed up, blood pressure rise; But soon the blood vessels dilate, so reduce the heat load, blood pressure drops, the heart becomes slow, the diastolic period is prolonged, so the heart can get better rest.
Water circuit therapy is so effective because it combines two potent forms of therapy: cold water therapy and hot water hydrotherapy therapy.
10-20 minutes in a hot tub to warm and massage tight muscles.
10 minutes in a sauna to encourage sweating and increase circulation.
10-20 minutes in a cool bath to bring down your body temperature.
10 minutes in a cold bath to reduce pain, minimize inflammation and boost your mood.
2.The effect on breathing
The effect of hydrotherapy on the number and depth of breathing is through the neurological reflex, instant cold stimulation to deepen inhalation, and even a brief respiratory arrest and deep inhalation, the lower the temperature, the more abrupt the stimulation, the faster and more dramatic the respiratory arrest.
3.The effect on skeletal muscle
Under the effect of short cold, muscle tension increases, increasing muscle strength and reducing fatigue, especially when accompanied by mechanical spurs. However, when treated for a long time, the temperature within the tissue decreases and the muscle becomes stiff, making movement difficult. A short warm bath can improve muscle work capacity and relieve fatigue, while a longer warm bath will reduce muscle tension and pain, and spasm, so it is often used in conjunction with massage and body therapy, which has good effects on the treatment of joint diseases in the middle layer.
4.The impact on the spirit
Appropriate cold water bath can excite the nerves, folk commonly used cold water spray head and face to help coma patients awaken. Many times the implementation of the insensitive warm water bath can make from the peripheral nerves to the cerebral cortex to reduce the impulse, neural excitability, strengthen the inhibitory function of the cerebral cortex, playing a sedative-hypnotic effect.
- Mechanical action
1.The role of hydrostatic pressure
In the ordinary bath, the hydrostatic pressure is 40 ~ 60g/cm2. Hydrostatic pressure also acts on the blood circulation, compressing the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels on the body surface, increasing the return flow of body fluids, and causing the redistribution of body fluids in the body.
2.Water impact effect
This is another form of mechanical stimulation. 2 to 3 atmospheric pressure of the directional water impact the body, that is, the application of direct spray bath, needle bath, have a great mechanical stimulation, in the application of hydrotherapy, in order to strengthen the role of mechanical stimulation, we often have to lower the water temperature some, this is because the mechanical stimulation of peripheral vasodilatation, such as the combination of low temperature with water, it is more improve its clinical effect.
Human body weight lost in the water is about equal to body weight 9/10. With the floating action of the water for water gymnastics activities, muscle exertion, then in the air to be much smaller.
- Chemical action
Water can dissolve various mineral salts, liquids, and trace amounts of gas, so when administering hydrotherapy, various mineral salts, drugs, and gases can be added. The stimulation of these chemicals can enhance the effect of hydrotherapy and enable the body to obtain a special response.
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