Suffering from aches and pains? Great news! There are several different types of modalities available to help give you relief from tension and pain.
Hydrotherapy has been around for quite some time. It gained popularity and came to the United States in the 1840s. Hydrotherapy is the use of water to bring relief to the body. Some possible benefits of hydrotherapy include reducing aches and pains in the muscles, relieving joint stiffness and symptoms of arthritis, and many more.
The use of both hot and cold water is beneficial for the body. The use of hot water causes blood vessels to dilate. Vasodilation increases blood flow to the area of the body where the aches and pains are occurring. The increased blood flow brings more nutrients and oxygen to the area!
Naturally, if hot water causes blood vessels to dilate then we can see that cold water causes blood vessels to constrict. Vasoconstriction pulls blood away from the inflamed area which can also provide relief.
What I love about hydrotherapy is its accessibility! There are so many different applications that you can use at home to help bring you relief between massage sessions or even prepare you for your next massage!
Here are a few ways to help you live life well with water:
1. Hot/Cold Compress
The use of a hot, moist compress for muscle pain can bring relief to sore muscles, menstrual cramps, boils, and even sinus congestion. Moist heat tends to be more effective than dry heat and it is less likely to dry out your skin. The heat will increase your circulation and it can also shorten the healing process.
Cold compress can be used to reduce swelling! The use of a cold compress for muscle strains, sprains, and tendonitis can help relieve pain!
2. Hot Bath
In the same way a hot compress brings pain relief, a hot bath or even the use of a hot tub can bring relief to sore muscles and tension.
While submerged, your body has a sense of weightlessness and can provide relief from pain in the muscles and joints. Not only can a therapeutic hot bath provide respite from aches and pains, it can also sooth emotional stress. Some will add Epson salt or essential oils to their hot bath to provide additional benefits.
3. Ice Bath
Though an ice bath may seem like a form of torture, it has gained popularity with the athletes among us. An ice bath can speed up recovery time after an injury or intense exercise. For an ice bath, add ice to a tub of water until the temperature measures between 45°F and 65°F. Once the ideal temperate is reached, you are ready to submerge. This can also be used for individual body parts like a wrist or ankle when you have an injury or soreness from repetitive use.
4. Aquatic Exercise
Sometimes pain in our joints can be exacerbated when we try to exercise. The natural gravity on our body plus the additional stress of lifting, jumping or squatting can make exercise unbearable. Exercising in a pool can provide less resistance and less pressure on your joints, allowing you to enjoy your exercise.
5. Contrast Hydrotherapy
We have all done it when we were kids. While staying at a hotel, we jumped in the swimming pool, hopped out and then dipped into the hot tub! It was torturous and yet we didn’t seem to get enough. Would you believe that this is contrast hydrotherapy? Unfortunately, most of us do not have a cold pool and hot tub for our pleasure, but with some modifications this too can be accessible to you!
Water has been used in multiple ways to bring health, wellness, and recovery however, there is very little scientific evidence that measures the effectiveness of its use. We do know that there are times we should avoid certain hydrotherapy treatments, so it is always recommended that you consult your physician prior to trying out any form of hydrotherapy!
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