Classification and Types of Hydrotherapy

External Hydrotherapy

This type involves the application of water or ice to the body or immersion of the body in water whereas temperature-based hydrotherapy involves various effects of cold or hot water on the skin and underlying tissues. Hot water helps relax muscles and causes sweating, and is very helpful to treat poor circulation, sore muscles, arthritis, and rheumatism by using the combination of aromatherapy. Cold water hydrotherapy helps in stimulating underlying muscles and blood flow in the skin. Treatments based on temperature include the application of cold or moist heat to particular parts of the body. Treatment with moist heat is called fomentation, and is helpful for conditions such as flu, arthritis, or chest cold whereas cold compresses or ice packs help with headaches, dental surgery, or sprains. Body packs are helpful for detoxification and to calm psychiatric patients.

Internal Hydrotherapy

Internal hydrotherapy includes colonic irrigation and enemas. Steam baths are a type of internal hydrotherapy. Colonic irrigation is an enema which is used for cleansing the entire bowel. It is believed to cure a number of digestive problems.

Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy can be very useful in treating many different types of soft tissue and bone injury as well as neuromuscular conditions such as muscular dystrophy.

The benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Pain relief
  • Reduction in muscle spasm
  • Increased joint range of motion
  • Strengthening of weak muscles
  • Increased circulation
  • Improvement of balance and co-ordination
  • Re-education of paralysed muscles

Uses of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy may be useful in the following conditions:

  • Arthritis - both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Musculoskeletal conditions - such as frozen shoulder, ankle sprains and groin strains
  • Following surgery for conditions such as knee replacement, hip replacement, ACL reconstruction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neurological conditions including Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons Disease
  • After strokes or head injuries