What Is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a treatment that uses water to soothe various symptoms in your body. It is also called water therapy, pool therapy, or aquatic therapy. Sometimes, you might hear doctors call it balneotherapy.


Water helps relax your muscles and body. That helps relieve pain, improve breathing and blood circulation, and help injuries recover. This curative use of water can be as simple as having a warm bath in a pool, physical therapy tank, or tub at home.

Hydrotherapy can use any form of water, like liquid, steam, or ice. The water flow and pressure will vary based on individual treatment goals.


So, What Happens in Hydrotherapy?

During water therapy, you are often floating. That ability to float lowers impact and stress when doing slow, systematic exercises with your therapist’s guidance. As a result, the therapy supports injured joints and muscles during recovery. The water gently presses the injured body part, easing swelling and improving movement.


Types of Hydrotherapy

There are various types of hydrotherapy. The most common ones include the following:


  • Water exercise, like lap swimming and aquatic aerobics

  • Warm water baths

  • Aquatic physical therapy done by a trained therapist who customizes it to your needs

  • Immersion therapy - Studies show that cold or ice water immersion and brief soakings in cold and warm water can improve relaxation in sportspersons

  • Saunas, where steam therapy helps relax muscles, boost mental health, and improve sleep

  • Sitz bath - This requires dunking your buttocks in warm, shallow water to calm perineum pain, hemorrhoids, and discomfort from an episiotomy. It also helps soothe itching or burning in your perineum


When Do You Use Hydrotherapy?

People sometimes use hydrotherapy if they have the following:


  • General body stiffness and pain

  • Back pain

  • Inflexibility and pain from joint replacement surgery

  • Osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and other forms of arthritis

Hydrotherapy is a safe treatment with little to no complications when performed by a certified practitioner. Make sure you receive treatment from a credible facility and provider if you decide to have hydrotherapy.

More importantly, talk to your primary healthcare provider before adding hydrotherapy to your treatment routine.


Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Water therapy provides many benefits, including alleviating pain, relieving arthritis symptoms, and recovering from intense workouts. Since the treatment is low impact, you can do various exercises in water without straining your joints and muscles. As a result, you can stick to an exercise program while easing symptoms like pain.


Additionally, hydrotherapy offers both physical and mental relaxation. It eases muscle tension and stress while encouraging your mind to relax. That helps reduce anxiety and depression and boosts mental health.


When Should You Not Use Hydrotherapy?


Water therapy is not suitable for everyone. Talk to your physiotherapist if you have a skin infection, open wound, stomach upset, or fever. Let them know if you have angina, breathing complications, heart problems, or incontinence.

Likewise, tell your therapist if you are allergic to chlorine or have a kidney problem requiring dialysis. Your therapist also needs to know if you have medical issues that are not well managed, such as asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy. In many cases, the physiotherapist needs that information beforehand to make necessary changes to your treatment plan. But sometimes, they may discourage hydrotherapy.


For more information on hydrotherapy, contact Chiropractic Nashville at our office in Nashville, Tennessee. Call (615) 205-1022 to schedule an appointment today.

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