Hydrotherapy

The healing properties of water are countless. Constitutional hydrotherapy is a special technique that greatly improves recovery from many illnesses, both acute and chronic. It helps to normalize circulation, soothe the nervous system, stimulate the detoxifying and elimination processes, strengthen and heal the digestive system and stimulate the immune system and vital force. This therapy is subtle yet very powerful with virtually no potential for harm when performed by a qualified naturopathic physician.

How does it work?

Hydrotherapy works well because it stimulate the body's own healing force. This therapy is called “constitutional hydrotherapy”, because it changes the very constitution of each individual cell. Each cell in your body is stimulated to excrete waste products, utilize nutrition more efficiently and work more effectively. You can rebuild your metabolism and regenerate your health with this amazing therapy by enhancing the oxygenation and circulation of blood and lymph, promoting better digestion of food and nutrition to the cells, increasing the oxidation and elimination of toxins (i.e. via sweat through the skin or bowel), strengthening the general defense of the body and assisting in the restoration of nervous equilibrium. Constitutional hydrotherapy also helps build the blood by increasing desirable elements, such as red and white blood cells, nutrients, and oxygen. In addition, water treatments improve immune functioning by nourishing the mononuclear phagocyte system, through which our illness-fighting white blood cells recognize invaders and are guided to the tissues where they are needed.

 

Mechanism of Action

When you place a hot towel on the skin it brings the blood and other fluids up to the surface in order to maintain the body's homeostasis. When the hot towel is followed by a cold one, blood vessels constrict and blood moves back down into the organs and center of the body. If the cool towel is left on the skin, the body will eventually move the warm blood back up to the surface in order to warm the towel. Therefore, in the simple placement of two alternating towels you've created an oscillatory effect that moves the fluid outward and inward through a full cycle. This not only pushes blood through the liver, skin, kidneys and lungs, but it restores balance to the abdominal organs via the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The last cold towel, in particular, causes a reflex that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which mediates the repair of the body, digestion of food and pushes immune cells into the blood stream via the lymphatic tissue in the abdomen. This combination cleans the blood via the organs of elimination, and strengthens the blood via the white blood cells (WBCs).

(Boyle, Wade, ND and Saine, Andre, ND, Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy, Sandy: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1988: 17-18.)


What is a Sine Wave machine?

The application of sine wave currents (or other mild electrical currents) is used in different locations and applied in a pulsed, massage-like rhythm to relax and tonify skeletal muscles, to enhance smooth muscle function in the internal organs, or to stimulate the function of different areas through nerve root stimulation. There is a combined effect in the hot applications that dilate the arterial blood vessels, short cold that constricts, and sine-wave massage currents that stimulate the muscles and nerves moving venous blood and lymph flow. This combined effect enhances the healing capacity of the body in many conditions, and is used in conjunction with other therapies. The hot and cold towel contrast "pumps up" blood circulation through the expansion and contraction of tissues, affects digestion, and increases eliminations while the Sine Wave stimulates muscle groups and deeper organs and tissues into increased activity. Together they "jump start" the immune system and help to bring about a needed detoxification process.