Understanding Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to relax or heal, and is an excellent complement to massage therapy. Heating or cooling the body improves circulation, increasing the flow of nutrients and carrying away wastes from tissues and organs.

Important Precautions for Using Heat and Cold Therapy
Do not use ice or any very cold applications if you have Raynaud’s disease, peripheral vascular disease, peripheral neuropathy, hypersensitivity to cold, or reduced skin sensations. If you have diabetes, use caution when applying ice to your skin.

If you are pregnant, or have a heart condition, diabetes, or high blood pressure, consult with your physician before using hydrotherapy, especially heat. Use caution if you have sensitive skin.

Also be careful with heat applications to avoid burning. Remain very aware of the heat of an application and how it feels against your skin. If you use an electric heating pad, don’t fall asleep!

Physical Effects of Heat
Increases blood flow, increases tissue mobility and length, increases metabolism (removal of lactic acid and toxins), decreases pain, decreases joint stiffness.

Physical Effect of Cold
Decreases blood flow, activates the inhibitory process of the body (brief intense cold only), decreases metabolism (prolonged cold only), analgesic, decreases inflammation.

Pain, sports injuries, inflammation, stress, decreased range of motion, weakness on unable to support weight, i.e. use pool, hypertonic muscles, arthritis.

Pain relief, analgesic, first aid, preheat for exercise, relaxation, decreased range of motion with joints.

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