What is Hydrotherapy?
This is the simple practice of using water as a means to affect blood and lymph flow in the body. I do not mean drinking water (although drinking water is essential for good health for other reasons). This is the practice of applying alternating hot and cold water applications to the body.
How Does Hydrotherapy Work?
By alternating cold compresses with hot compresses, the blood vessels of the skin will dilate and contract. This action causes blood to go from the exterior skin to deeper tissues and organs. Think of how when you go outside and get cold. Your hands and feet are the first to get cold as your body moves the blood to your important internal organs to keep them warm and functioning. When you go outside and it is hot, the opposite happens; blood moves to the skin, hands, and feet so that the excess heat in your body can easily dissipate. Hydrotherapy is a way of mimicking this natural process so as to get your blood moving. Exercise has a similar action on blood flow. So, in a sense, this is like giving someone the healthy benefits of exercise, but when they are sick and unable to be active!
Why is this important? Because increasing the blood flow will bring healthy nutrients to the area, eliminate the toxins from the inflammatory process happening, and bring in fresh immune cells. This all helps speed up the healing process!
Below I have included two hydrotherapies that are essential to any home repertoire. Read through these and you will really understand what is entailed.
Warming Socks Hydrotherapy
This is a great practice that can help quickly heal sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections, headaches, fevers, and is great to help induce a great night of sleep. These are to be done just before going to bed. Basically, the socks are going to be cooling and warming your feet through the night, which consequently causes blood to flow to and from the head and neck through the night.
Here is how you do it:
Gather the following: 1 pair regular cotton socks, 1 pair wool socks, a bathtub or bin for soaking feet, and a towel.
1) Fill the bucket, basin, or tub with hot water. Make sure the temperature is tolerable for your feet because you will be putting them in there.
2) Soak your feet for 10 minutes (or as long as it takes for them to get nice and toasty). While this is happening you want to prepare the next step so you may want to do this near a sink or have someone help you.
3) Soak the cotton socks in cold tap water (the colder the better) and then wring them out just enough so they are not dripping.
4) Remove feet from hot bath and pull the cold socks over your feet. I promise, it is only cold for a couple seconds!
5) Cover the cold socks with the dry wool socks.
6) Go to bed. Yup, just leave the socks on. I like to lay a towel down at the food of my bed just to prevent any excess moisture from getting in my sheets. This is optional. When you awake in the morning, nice and refreshed, the socks will be dry. Do this every night until you feel better.
Warming Throat Compress Hydrotherapy
This I recommend to people with sore throats and lost voices. Again, it will encourage blood flow to the area of the throat which will help with the immunity and nutrient flow to the area. This is a great alternative to the warming socks if you don’t want to leave the socks on all night or are just really opposed to cold things on the feet.
Here is how you do it:
Gather the following: 2 wash cloths, 1 hand towel or scarf
1) Soak one of the wash cloths in hot water, as hot as you can tolerate, and wring it out to not drip.
2) Apply this washcloth to your throat and wrap the towel or scarf around this. Leave on for 5-10 minutes.
3) While the above application is warming your throat, prepare the next washcloth.
4) Soak the second cloth in cold water, as cold as tolerable, and wring it out to not drip.
5) Once the 5-10 minutes is over, unwrap your neck, immediately apply the cold washcloth, and re-wrap with the dry scarf/towel. Now hang out with the cold towel for 3-5 minutes.
6) Repeat this alternation of hot and cold compresses Three times. Do the series once a day until better.