Hydrotherapy – the use of water for the purpose of therapy

Dealing with chronic pain often requires that you have an arsenal of pain relieving tools at your disposal. The use of water in its varied forms can often be very valuable.

Moist heat is usually the most used form of hydrotherapy. The soothing warmth calms muscles as well as frayed nerves. Heat also increases the circulation, stimulates the immune system and increases the range of motion in joints. Some heat packs can be found in most drug stores. They come in a variety of forms including bags filled with rice, corn or other grains. Always be careful not to overheat the pack as it can easily cause a burn.

An excellent source of moist heat packs is Corn Bags . Just place in your microwave for 1 to 3 minutes (depending on your wattage) and you are ready for about 45 minutes of soothing 120 degree heat for all kinds of pains. No cords needed, and they will last for years with a removable washable cover.

Ice is another form of hydrotherapy that has excellent therapeutic benefits, though often not thought of. Ice is always preferred when there is any kind of inflammation or swelling from a sprain or bruise. The cold causes blood vessels to constrict thus reducing and further swelling or bruising. If applied properly ice can reduce muscle spasms, relieve headaches and pain associated with chronic conditions such as low back pain, fybromyalgia and more.

It is very important that the application of ice is done correctly. Too long of contact with the skin can actually nacrose or kill the cells causing ugly wounds that can be difficult to heal.· Ice Pack Application – The flexible ice packs that are available at most drug stores are quite adequate. Keep the pack in the freezer until ready for use. Wrap the pack in a thin towel such as a kitchen towel and then place the pack over one layer of clothing. You can even lean into the pack or wedge it between your back and car seat as you drive.

What to expect: First the area will begin to get cold. Then it will begin to sting a little or even burn. Next the area may begin to ache. Lastly the area will begin to go numb, which is what you are actually looking for. If you’re numb you won’t feel pain. It is important at this point to remove the pack to prevent any damage to the skin. 20 minutes is the maximum time that you should keep the ice pack on.

Ice Massage – is the application of ice directly to the skin. This is an excellent way to treat small areas such as wrists, ankles, bruises and sprains. One easy way to do ice massage is to freeze a Styrofoam cup of water. When you need it all you have to do is peel back a bit of the cup and rub the ice over the injured area. Extreme caution must be used when applying ice directly to the skin to prevent freezing the tissue and causing damage. Move the ice constantly over the area never staying in one place.

What to expect:As above the area will go through the sensations of cold, burning, aching and numb. These will be the guidelines on how long the massage should last. Some people will reach the numb stage faster than others. However, never continue over 15 minutes.

Detox Bath – Everyone knows how wonderful a nice hot bath is; they’re relaxing and soothing both mentally and physically. To increase the therapeutic value of the standard soak, try adding a half-cup each of baking soda and Epson salt. Soak for about 20 minutes, and then wash off thoroughly in the shower. This especially helpful after an intense session of deep tissue massage or when feeling congested from environmental pollutants.

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