Hydrotherapy and its Benefits in the Spa
The healing benefits of water have been appreciated for centuries and in ancient times, people used the curing powers of natural hot springs. Nowadays we all appreciate a hot, scented bubble bath which eases those niggling aches and pains as we enjoy the health benefits of relaxation.
Hydrotherapy simply means the use of water in a therapeutic way, and includes the use of both warm and cold water. When you immerse yourself in warm water, you receive a number of health benefits: your body temperature increases and you perspire. The skin’s pores open, blood vessels are diluted and blood is diverted to the skin — hence the flushed, rosy-faced look. This sweat process encourages the body’s toxic wastes to be eliminated via the open pores.
Hydrotherapy also uses water massage via water jets directed onto your body. This type of massage increases blood circulation and delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the soft tissues. The lymphatic system is also activated giving a generous boost to the immune system and massage on cellulite prone areas helps to break down the fatty deposits and lessen its appearance.
During a hydrotherapy treatment, another health benefit is in the release of endorphins — the body’s natural hormones which give us a sense of well being. They also block pain and boost the immune system. And let’s not forget the mental benefits achieved during this therapy including stress relief and a spring clean of the mind which helps you to sleep well.
Hydrotherapy is a well established tool used by physiotherapists for patients with mobility problems and in rehabilitation. When the patient sits in a hydrotherapy bath, the water buoyancy reduces pressure on the patient’s joints which is of immeasurable benefit when the patient starts his physiotherapy exercises. The warm water helps ease stiff joints and relax sore muscles. Repeated exercises help build up strength which is important in injury recovery. Hydrotherapy is a proven treatment to lessen the pain associated with arthritis through elimination of the toxins causing the joint inflammation and pain.
An alternating therapy for soft tissue injury, commonly used by athletes, is to use hot water followed by cold water on the problem area: the heat encourages blood flow to the skin; the cold water sends it back again to the deeper tissues. The objective here is to improve the circulation in the fine capillaries around the affected area.
Hydrotherapy, in addition to the health benefits above, is a common treatment found in spas. A variety of equipment can be used for hydrotherapy benefits by spa goers and include:
Hydrotherapy Pools — you lie or sit on an ergonomically moulded seat whilst jets of water give a medium to forceful massage of your body. Some jets will works specifically on your lower back, others will give you a more diffuse massage, and if you stand under the swan’s neck showers, a deft hit of a button will release a powerful jet of water over your neck and shoulders to give a deep water massage.
Swiss Showers — here you stand in a booth, and between 6 to 12 shower heads, positioned overhead and at the sides, direct water onto your body. The force of the water jet and the temperature of the water are varied.
Scotch Hose — an interesting hydrotherapy treatment where you stand back sharp against a wall, holding onto some handily positioned handles. The spa therapist has a hand held shower head to direct water onto you from a distance to massage your body, and can target specific areas.
Even if you have a simple spa bath therapy or relax in the hot tub you will benefit from the hydrotherapy effects, particularly those of detoxification and cleansing encouraged by the hot water. And your muscles will be wonderfully relaxed and ready for a traditional massage with a spa therapist.
Whilst hydrotherapy provides a number of important health benefits, pregnant ladies should not subject themselves to strong water jets, nor those with an underlying injury unless under the supervision of a trained professional. Anyone with an underlying health condition should also consult their doctor first.
So when you’re next in the spa, whether you are seeking relaxation, detoxification or a great massage, try out the hydrotherapy areas and you will leave feeling de-stressed and relaxed, and able to sleep like a baby.