Hydrotherapy is one of the best tools to cure various ailments. It is the treatment of disorders using different forms of water. These forms of water application are in practice since age - old days. Water is without doubt the most ancient of all remedial agents for disease. This great healing agent has now been systematized and made into a science. Hydriatic applications are generally given in different temperatures, the temperature of application are given in the below table.
Water is used in many forms in treatment. The various forms of treatments are:
A sitz bath or hip bath is a bath in which a person sits in water up to the hips. It is used to relieve discomfort and pain in the lower part of the body, for example, due to haemorrhoids (piles), anal fissures, rectal surgery, an episiotomy, uterine cramps, inflammatory bowel disease, and infections of the bladder, prostate or vagina. It works by keeping the affected area clean and increasing the flow of blood to it.
A sitz bath may be created simply by filling a bathtub with some water and sitting in it for a few minutes. Alternatively, a large basin can be used. Sitz baths may either be warm or cool, or alternating between the two.
Warm baths are recommended for reducing the itching, pain and discomfort associated with conditions such as haemorrhoids and genital problems. An ordinary bathtub can be filled with 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10.2 cm) of hot water (about 110 °F (43 °C)), and sat in for 15–20 minutes or until the water cools down.
Cool sitz baths are said to be helpful in easing constipation, inflammation and vaginal discharge, and, in cases of faecal or urinary incontinence, in toning the muscles.
Several variations of the procedure can be used, with different therapeutic effects depending on the temperature of the water, the length of time spent immersed and the method of immersion (such as dipping and 'hot and cold alternate').Some people find that alternating three to five times between a hot bath for 3–4 minutes and an ice-cold bath for 30–60 seconds is soothing. A towel soaked in cold water can be used in place of a cold bath.
For most purposes sitz baths with water are sufficient, though some people prefer to use saline water or water mixed with baking soda or mustard. The use of such additives helps to reduce infections. Women with candidiasis (a vaginal yeast infection) may benefit from a warm bath with salt and vinegar.
The spinal bath is another important form of hydrotherapic treatment. This bath provides a soothing effect to the spinal column and thereby influences the central nervous system. It is given in a specially designed tub with its back raised so as to provide proper support to the head. The bath can be administered at cold, neutral and hot temperatures. The water level in the tub should be an inch and a half to two inches and the patient should lie in it for three to 10 minutes.
Certain precautions are necessary while taking these therapeutic baths. Full baths should be avoided within three hours after a meal and one hour before it. Local baths like the hip bath and foot bath may, however, be taken two hours after a meal. Clean and pure water must be used for baths and water once used should not be used again. While taking baths, temperature and duration should be strictly observed to obtain the desired effects. A thermometer should always be used to measure the temperature of the body. Women should not take any of the baths during menstruation.
In cold foot bath, the patient's feet are immersed in a tub or bucket containing water at 7º C to 12º C for about 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Friction is usually done during foot bath. Cold foot bath is not given in the conditions of inflammation of liver, kidneys and genitourinary organs.
In hot foot bath, the patient's feet are immersed in a tub or bucket containing hot water for about 20 to 30 minutes. His body must be properly covered in order not to lose the heat. He needs shower bath after this treatment.
Hot foot bath makes the involuntary muscles of the body active especially uterus, bladder, intestines, abdominal and pelvic organs. It removes the sprains, contractions of the ankle joints, cerebral congestion and colds. It promotes menstruation.
However, hot foot bath treatment is dangerous if one have the following health conditions:
An enema is a fluid injected into the lower bowel by way of the rectum. The most frequent use of an enema is as a cleansing enema (also called a soapsuds enema) which is given to relieve constipation or for bowel cleansing before a medical examination or procedure
Steam baths tend not only to relax and rejuvenate one as we perspire, but also enhance our beauty. Besides its relaxing effects, steam baths may also provide health benefits, such as pain relief, easing dry skin, and helping with respiratory problems. Steam baths operate best if the temperature is between 110 F and 116 F, with the humidity at around 100 percent. For the steamy mist to be present, one must have an efficient generator and an air-tight cabin. While one enjoys steam bath, follow a few safety tips.
Hot and cold Compress is a common non-invasive procedure used for the relief of pain. The technique utilizes the alternation of hot and cold compresses on a painful area to help reduce inflammation, pain and muscle spasms. You may find this type of therapy offers relief of chronic back pain as well as pain caused by a variety of conditions, including arthritis and sports injuries.
Applying a very warm or hot compress to the skin over an area of pain helps flood blood into that area. This increase of blood flow also increases the volume of healing oxygen and nutrients carried by the blood to that area of the body. In addition, heat applied to painful tissues helps relieve muscle tension, muscle spasms and helps increase mobility and range of motion. Place the hot pack on the painful area for about 15 minutes. When using heating pads or hot packs, always protect the skin by wrapping the hot pack in a towel. However, if there's swelling, don't place a hot pack against the swollen areas, as this will increase blood flow to the already engorged locations.
Alternate hot and cold therapy techniques for relief of pain and to help reduce swelling and other symptoms of muscle or joint injury. Limit use of alternating hot and cold therapy to 20 to 30 minutes. Wait an hour before starting an alternating hot/cold therapy treatment again. Avoid using heat therapy over open wounds and stitches, if you've been diagnosed with diabetes and have poor circulation, or if you're a haemophiliac. Hot and Cold therapy is the most beneficial therapy. Even in sore painful throat if one opt for one sip of warm water alternating with one sip of cold water 1 glass full (half glass warm water, half glass cold water) he will definitely get relief of his/her ailment provided it should be done thrice a day .Also hot and cold compress can be applied to any painful area in ratio 3:1 that is hot towel placement for 3 minutes followed by cold water towel for 1 minute for 5 times.
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