HYDROTHERAPY (WATER TREATMENTS)
Written by Slawomir (“Swavak”) Gromadzki, MPH
Wisely used hydrotherapy (various simple water treatments) is one of the best ways to boost health and speed up recovery from various health problems especially those associated with weak immunity, sluggish blood circulation and poor metabolism. Hydrotherapy works even better when combined with healthy lifestyle, regular physical activity, healthy diet, and good quality supplements and herbal remedies.
However, before using any of the described below water treatments make sure you have enough knowledge, read everything carefully making notes, watch videos, and remember about possible contraindications. Also, if you suffer from heart problems or other serious health conditions consult your physician before starting hydrotherapy.
ALTERNATIVE (CONTRAST) HOT AND COLD SHOWERS
My favourite water treatment, I myself use almost every day, is alternative (contrast) hot and cold showers as it gives a tremendous boost to the blood circulation, improves metabolism, elimination of toxins, and stimulate both the nervous and the immune system. Always start with hot shower and after about 3 – 5 minutes, when your body is warm enough, take a 1 – 3 min cold shower slowly reducing temperature until it is very cold. If you want to get better results repeat this procedure alternating the flow of water from hot to cold, back and forth 3-5 times in a row.
You can also start the whole treatment with hot bath followed by cold bath, cold shower or cold (icy) towel compress. While staying in hot bath you can also gradually rub your hands, legs, chest and entire body using an ice pack or a towel dipped in icy water, repeating this cold procedure every few minutes.
Cold water stimulates blood to flow toward the internal organs whereas the hot water directs blood toward the skin. Hot water enlarges blood vessels while cold water causes them to shrink. Therefore, the alternating hot and cold makes the circulation move in and out like an accordion. This has a tremendous positive influence on our body and health as proper blood circulation is one of the most important factors in preventing and treating various health problems. In addition this treatment also helps to open capillaries (smallest blood vessels) increases the rate of detoxification and helps oxygen, antioxidants and nutrients to move more readily to various parts of the body. You can still improve this benefit by taking Ginkgo biloba supplements before and after the treatment. Hot and cold showers can be taken 1 to 2 times a day.
The cold shower or bath, which is even more beneficial than hot, will not harm you if you precede it with good hot shower. Cold water by cooling our body forces it to burn more calories by activating the brown fat which boosts fat burning. I wonder whether you’ve heard about a special type of fat in our body called brown fat. Unlike regular white fat cells, which store calories (in the form of fat), the brown fat cells are packed with mitochondria (energy-producing power stations of the cell) which constantly burn energy and produce heat. In the past we thought only babies had brown fat, but in 2009, researchers discovered brown fat in adult bodies too. This brown fat can play a very important role in controlling body weight because it is a heat-generating type of fat which burns energy instead of storing it. Although it is called “fat” it actually works more like a muscle. Hydrotherapy, especially alternating hot and cold treatments stimulate brown fat cells to burn more fat.
Also sauna can be beneficial in dealing with problems associated with weak immune system, infections, respiratory diseases, skin problems, poor blood circulation, obesity, etc. as it also boosts immune system, improves metabolism and helps eliminating toxins from our body (especially by inducing sweating and improving circulation). In addition it is also effective in removing excess fat which can be explained by the fact that fats become water-soluble when they are exposed to the temperature higher than 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) thus forcing the body to eliminate the excess fat together with water during the process of sweating triggered by sauna or another prolonged hot treatment such as hot foot bath, hot shower, etc. Sauna is recommended especially after exercising.
If your main goal is to lose more fat it is suggested that you should drink a lot of water (1-2 litres) about 30 to 60 minutes before sauna and 30 minutes after but not during the time you stay in sauna. The more you sweat the more water you need to drink also after sauna (until your urine is pale or transparent as yellow colour means you are dehydrated).
Also remember that although sauna or other hot treatments can be beneficial and help to lose weight it must be frequently interrupted with cold showers. Apart from that, during any prolonged hot treatment a very cold compress on the forehead (or whole head) and neck should be applied constantly.
If you suffer from any health problems please consult the use of sauna and other prolonged hot or cold treatments with your physician.
HOT FOOT BATH
Another excellent and very simple water treatment is hot foot bath. Keeping your feet for about 30 minutes in hot water can be very helpful in boosting immunity and reducing congestion and pain from any area of the body. The very important benefit of water treatments such as hot foot bath is its ability to move blood from different parts of the body such as brain, chest, abdomen, etc. which is very helpful when the blood in brain and internal organs is congested, inflamed and often overloaded with toxins and impurities. It might be very beneficial in case of pain, sinusitis, headaches, cancer, arthritis, any inflammation or even fibromyalgia which is believed to be caused by too much blood in the brain which overstimulates the nervous system leading to increased sensitivity to pain. Hoot bath can be very beneficial in those conditions because high temperature of water dilates blood vessels in feet. As a result the congested blood moves from the upper parts of the body including chest, brain, internal organs and any part of the body to the lower parts bringing great relief. At the same time you need to wring out two clothes in ice water and put them on your forehead and neck, as it will constrict the blood vessels in the head, which also helps to ease the congestion. If you are a diabetic use thermometer or ask someone to check the temperature as diabetics have lower sensitivity to heat and may burn themselves.
Again, let me remind you that it is very important to drink plenty of water (possibly distilled or at least properly filtered) before and during this and any heating treatment, because heating raises body temperature and causes sweating, thus dehydrating the body. And, if you are a spiritual or believing person, don’t forget to pray before and after the treatment, asking the Great Physician to bless your efforts in sustaining the gift of health or cope with your health problems.
In order to increase the benefits of hydrotherapy use it together with ginkgo biloba (blood circulation booster), alpha lipoic acid (most powerful antioxidant), milk thistle or activated charcoal (to improve detoxification), and one of super grasses such as chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, moringa, etc. (to boost energy, provide chlorophyll and nutrients).
In order to find more details about hydrotherapy please watch two following VIDEOS by Dr. Agatha Thrash: