Hydrotherapy for Stress Management
Many people fully appreciate how a relaxing bath can help them unwind after a stressful day. In fact, a long soak in the tub is often all it takes to soothe away a day’s aches and pains, both mental and physical. But what many people don’t realise is how hydrotherapy – the use of water to both take away pain and treat stress – is actually a recognised form of stress relief, and as such is even often a prescribed treatment on the NHS.
In fact, hydrotherapy, which dates back to the ancient Greeks, has been used to treat a variety of medical and spiritual complaints, from alcoholism to insomnia, from arthritis to rheumatic fever.
Father Sebastian Kniepp, a Bavarian monk who is credited as being the founder of hydrotherapy, realised as far back as the 19th century that you could stay healthy by getting rid of waste in the body - releasing toxins through the use of hot water.
Today, the use of external hydrotherapy is prescribed for both depressive and purely physical illnesses, and often is the best way to help people with mobility problems to both relax and increase their range of movement.
Some people promote internal hydrotherapy as well, which involves the use of specially treated water to cleanse the colon of built-up faecal matter, which some people believe is detrimental to our overall health.
External HydrotherapyProponents of this alternative form of pain and tension relief claim that when you are either feeling pain or under undue stress, your blood pressure will rise and your pulse rate race.
Regular hydrotherapy treatments, which often involve nothing more than floating in a warm pool or tub of water, stop this from happening by bringing relief to swollen joints and stopping the stress reaction in the body that takes place when you are in pain or tense. The basic tenet of hydrotherapy is: the more you do it, the more you will benefit.
Proponents of external hydrotherapy claim that within the first five minutes of treatment your blood pressure will drop and you will feel calmer. Further exposure will increase circulation and make your muscles feel less tense.
With additional treatments, they claim, your immune system will begin to actually improve, you will feel better overall, and you will have an increased resistance to fatigue. For people with specific conditions such as cerebral palsy, hydrotherapy often gives them the sense of freedom and well-being they might be missing in their day-to-day lives.
And if that isn’t enough, die-hard hydrotherapy fans say that with regular treatments you will look better too, as toxins will be cleared from your body making your complexion noticeably better as well.
Types of HydrotherapyThere are several ways in which you can experience hydrotherapy for stress relief easily and efficiently. They include:
- Home bath. Fill up your bath with warm water, adding bath oils, aromatherapy oils etc. Then relax. Candles optional.
- Sauna: Use of dry heat to clean out pores and melt away the day's stresses.
- Turkish bath or Hamman: Wet heat that seeks to accomplish what a sauna does in a different type of environment.
- Sitz bath: Soak one foot in a tub of hot water and one in a tub of cold, then alternate. Good for haemorrhoids and menstrual problems such as PMT.
- Whirlpool bath: Bubbles make this warm bath extra relaxing.
- NHS treatment. Following injury, stroke or due to certain medical condition, your GP may prescribe a one-to-one or joint exercise programme in a warm pool.
Internal hydrotherapy is a different matter altogether. Also known as “colonic hydrotherapy” or “colonic irrigation”, it often is used to treat specific gut problems such as constipation, excessive flatulence, IBS, bloating and headaches, which often are found to be tied in with undue stress.
This form of hydrotherapy uses purified and disinfected water, which often has been treated with cleansing minerals, and special tubing. The water is gently led into the colon and then allowed out, clearing out waste matter, faecal remains, gas, mucous and other accumulated debris which has built up inside the colon itself.
Many people who have colonic hydrotherapy once come back for repeat treatments, saying it helps them to lose weight and feel revitalised and refreshed.
Critics of this alternative therapy, however, say that it is unnecessary and can actually be detrimental to health, as colonic irrigation gets rid of vital bacteria as the same time it gets rid of waste products.
Try It and SeeMore conventional hydrotherapy is universally recognised as being of benefit to virtually everyone, as it involves making our lives less stress-free through safe and completely natural means.
If you are sceptical, run yourself a hot bath at the end of the day for a week, and see how much better you feel. You might be very pleasantly surprised...