Naturopathic hydrotherapy uses alternating applications of hot and cold water to specific areas of the body to increase blood flow to underlying organs. Based on the working hypothesis that health is proportional to normal flow of healthy blood, naturopathic hydrotherapy may be used to enhance circulation via the heart and blood vessels. It is through the skin, nerves, and blood vessels, however, that naturopathic hydrotherapy has its greatest impact.
Therapeutic effects of Hydrotherapy
- Increases blood flow to the tissues
- Improved transport of blood allows oxygen, minerals, immune cells and vitamins to the cells to encourage the healing process
- Balances the nervous system
- Increasing the immune response
- Promotes detoxification
What to Expect
Temperature variation, duration and frequency of application, site of treatment, pressure or friction application, degree of wetness, and the material used in compresses all affect the results of hydrotherapeutic treatment. For example, a short hot application is stimulating to the circulation, causing blood vessels to dilate because of the heat applied. In contrast, a long hot application is depressing to the circulation because it triggers the body’s protective reaction to the heat, and blood vessels close. Similarly, a short cold application is stimulating to the circulation because blood vessels immediately constrict in response to the cold temperatures and then dilate. If a cold application is long enough blood vessels constrict again, depressing circulation.
Uses of Hydrotherapy
Common acute conditions treated with hydrotherapy include upper respiratory infections (colds, flu, pneumonia, sinus infections and acute flares of chronic disorders). It is also an effective therapy for chronic diseases such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, insomnia, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic migraines, IBS, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders, Hashimoto’s, diabetes, PMS, infertility, hypertension and circulatory issues of varicose veins.