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Hydrotherapy

Find a professional for Hydrotherapy in Seattle

Hydrotherapy is the use of the therapeutic properties of water (in any of it's three forms: solid, liquid, and gas) to treat disease, trauma, relieve pain, and boost the immune system.  Hot or cold applications are utilized internally or externally in this therapy.  The most common historical use of hydrotherapy is for rheumatic diseases.  Currently, it is used to treat musculoskeletal disorders, physical injuries to joints, muscles and connective tissue, spasticity, arthritis, fever reduction or induction, paralysis, spinal cord injuries, burns, and to irrigate specific orifices.  Examples of the wide variety of hydrotherapy applications used today are jet tubs, soaking tubs, whirlpools, hot or cold packs, hot or cold compresses, contrast therapy, fomentations, poultices, sitz baths, spinal / head and foot baths, colonics, enemas and douches.  Each of these has different benefits and is utilized for different conditions.

Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest forms of medical therapy; there is documentation of its use in Greek, Egyptian and Roman civilizations.  Forms of hydrotherapy such as mineral and hot springs have been used throughout time for therapeutic purposes in both the East and West.  Having been developed over thousands of years, hydrotherapy has an historic expertise behind it; however, it is only in the past 30 years that formal scientific research has been conducted in this area.  Both allopathic and alternative healthcare providers include hydrotherapy in their practices.

Hydrotherapy does have some cautions and contraindications. Extreme caution should be used in treatment of any tissue with neurological damage, as they may not be able to detect further damage from heat or cold.  Caution should also be taken as to not cause burning from prolonged exposure to hot or cold applications. Vaginal douching is contraindicated in pregnancy as it can introduce bacteria into the vagina and uterus.  In addition excessive vaginal douching has been connected to increase pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) incidence, as it can upset the normal balance of vaginal flora and pH.  Many hydrotherapy applications, such as colonic irrigation, need special attention and should only be preformed by trained professionals.

Author: Bronwyn Bacon, ND Candidate '08

Sources:

L F Fallon, "Craniosacral Therapy," Encyclopedia of Nursing and Allied Health

Destination Spa Group
http://www.destinationspa.com/travel_pros/spaGlossary.htm

Complementary Medicine
www.cma.asn.au/glossary.htm


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