Constitutional hydrotherapy is a special technique in which alternating hot and cold compresses are applied to the torso and abdomen which greatly improves recovery from various illnesses or disorders. The goal is to stimulate the body’s own natural ability to heal itself. Learn more about how hydrotherapy can help ease both acute and chronic pain.
Hydrotherapy as Relief
During treatment, an individual lies comfortably on a soft table while hot towels are applied over the upper torso to warm the body. Once the body is warm, a single cold towel is applied in exchange for a hot one. The process happens twice (once on the front of the body and once on the back). The hot compress works to widen blood vessels which cause blood to be draw away from the core and rise towards blood vessels closer to the skin. The following benefits are felt:
- Increased circulation
- Increased immune function
- Increases white blood cell production
- Supported lymphatic flow throughout the body
- Detoxification and excretion of toxins from body to increase blood vessel tone
Benefits of Increased Blood Flow
Researchers have found hydrotherapy can increase blood flow delivered to the other organs in response to stimulation of the skin above. Stimulation of the adrenals and intestines can help increase the body’s ability to recover from stresses at an optimal rate. The adrenal support is vital for individuals who seek pain relief because prolonged, illegal use of substances can decrease function of the adrenal glands which produce vital hormones for the body. The brain’s signaling pathway (Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis) can be harmed but hydrotherapy can help restore some function.
The intestinal flora and gut microbiome is affected by substance use. Nearly 70% of the body’s immune system is located inside the Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) and Mucosa Associated Lymphoid Tissue (MALT). As a result, enhancing the function can allow the body to protect itself from foreign pathogens so that it may divert more of its energy to healing and rebuilding the body during hydrotherapy sessions and thereafter.
Some of the additional benefits of water therapy can be derived from the following sources:
- Swimming pools
- A ‘Hubbard tank’ where a person immerses the whole body
- Sitz baths with water up to the hips to treat lumbar, pelvic and other pain
- Whirlpool therapy with heated, churning water
- Hot or cold packs to reduce back, facial and limb pain
The goal of hydrotherapy is pain reduction and support of increased functioning over the long term where possible. It is best to speak with a treating physician prior to starting any new therapeutic intervention and treatment but the benefits speak for themselves. It may be worth a try if it helps improve overall function, mood and one’s lifestyle long term.
The Villa supports individuals in recovery from addiction who need help reaching goals and finding help for the journey. If you are ready to quit using drugs or alcohol and need help, call us.