Thanks to suggestive etymology, most people with any ear for Greek know that hydrotherapy is the therapeutic application of water. This therapy has been attributed to relieving chronic as well as acute pain, and even as a supplemental or alternative treatment for cancer patients undergoing conventional treatments like chemotherapy.
Uses of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy professionals use water, ice, and steam to augment the effects of heat or ice treatments, provide applied pressure, or to open up blood vessels. Heat and ice are particularly effective when applied with moisture because of their effects on the skin’s many pores: the pores are opened and heat or ice is allowed beyond the body’s natural barrier to really alleviate the source of the pain.
As steam or vapor, water can open sinuses (as in a sauna) while simultaneously relieving aches. Patients who submerge themselves in water, especially with the helpful gentle force of jets, can attest to the benefits of hot tub treatment. In pools, patients with injured ankles or other body parts may perform therapeutic exercises without the full stress of gravity. On the other side of the clipboard, therapists and physicians alike are happy to use hydrotherapy because of the willingness of patients to participate as well as its actual rehabilitative value.
History of Hydrotherapy
Historically, hydrotherapy is as old as the scriptures. Many ancient civilizations, such as the ancient Greeks, were invested in the rehabilitative value of water. Regardless of the justification, anthropological evidence exposes the importance of hydrotherapy through communal bathing sites in ancient Rome and Turkey.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
For those who rightfully require proof, hydrotherapy has a fairly solid list of bona fides. Water is obviously required for our survival, but many people do not drink enough. Hydrotherapy enables patients to supplement their water intake through general exposure to the therapy while also supplementing their cancer treatments by harnessing the rehabilitative power of water by using it to massage, heat, cool, and penetrate.
Unlike many pharmaceutical products, water is very safe and appropriate for human consumption. There are, of course, scenarios when water that is heated, cooled, or applied with too much pressure can be harmful. Weak, young, or elderly people need to be wary of these attributes and regulate temperature and intensity throughout treatments. Though hydrotherapeutic cancer treatments like cold body wraps and colon therapy have not proven to cure or slow the progress of the disease, certain types of hydrotherapy can reduce pain and other side effects of cancer treatments.