Hydrotherapy is simply the use of the healing properties of water! Contrast hydrotherapy uses the effects of alternating hot and cold water to treat a variety of ailments, such as local pain, sub-acute to chronic inflammation, and poor circulation. Alternating hot and cold water pumps blood to that area and tones the blood vessels, increasing blood flow in the short-term and improving overall circulation longer-term. Improving circulation can help keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, regulating your own comfort year-round. Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest forms of Naturopathic Therapy.
The easiest way to start is to introduce contrast into your regular bathing routine (whether bath or shower). This means alternating the temperature of the water between warm and cold in order to increase blood flow to the skin. The greater the contrast of temperatures, the more intense the treatment. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or are pregnant.
Begin shower with approximately 2-3 minutes warm/hot water, concentrating water flow on any affected areas.
Switch to cold water (as cold as can be tolerated) for approximately 30 seconds.
Repeat steps 1 and 2 at least three times more, for a total of 4 (or more) cycles of hot then cold water, attempting to increase the contrast each cycle.
The treatment should always end with cold water.
Dry thoroughly and rest for 10 minutes.
Contrast hydrotherapy can also be done using hot and cold towels or heating pad and cold pack for a more localized effect. It is a great treatment for local pain and inflammation caused by injury, arthritis, overuse, muscle strain, poor posture, or other causes.