Ancient civilizations used hydrotherapy widely for relief from illness and to maintain their good health.
You may have experienced hydrotherapy by sitting in the steam room or sauna at the gym, or by taking your nightly bath.
- When to Use Heat: To relax and Dilate blood vessels or enlarge them. Hot packs are great for chronic injuries.
- When to use cold: To stimulate and cause blood vessels to constrict or shrink them. Cold packs are great for acute injuries.
- When to use both: Using both cold and hot can help decrease inflammation and improve circulation to an area. you can do this by alternating ice packs and hot packs or by layering them and using them at the same time.
In my massage practice, I make good use of hydrotherapy techniques by incorporating heat to soothe and relax all my clients. My favorite ways to do this are using hot packs and hot towels during the sessions.
Also, I offer a style of massage called Hot Stone Massage. This native american tradition uses heated basalt stones to massage away tension and stress.
Here's a few easy hydrotherapy recipes that you can try at home.
What you'll need:
5-10 drops of essential oil, herbs from the garden, or flower petals (anything you find pleasant will work.
one heat safe bowl
Tea kettle for boiling water
one bath towel
Boil the water and pour it in to the bowl. add your herbs, flowers, and/or essential oils ( I like lavender or eucalyptus)
Position your face over the bowl and cover your head and bowl with the towel.
Steam for 10 minutes.
Milk and Honey bath (from crunchybetty.com)
How to take a milk and honey bath: Pour 1-2 cups of milk (or 1/2 c. full-fat powdered milk) and 1/2 c. honey under running, warm water. Swish around to mix, and hop in.
For full effect, brush your skin lightly and in circular motions with a dry brush or a washcloth before getting in the bathtub.
Oatmeal bath (from crunchybetty.com):
How to take an oatmeal bath: Fill a knee-high nylon or thin sock without holes with 1/2 to 1 c. of oatmeal (not quick cooking or instant). Tie tightly at the top. Place it in your warm bath, with you, and squeeze it softly every so often to release the oatmeal “water.” Before leaving the bathtub, scrub your entire body lightly with the sock. To clean: Over a trash can, turn the sock inside out and scrape all of the oatmeal off the outside, then rinse well with warm water. Wash as normal.
Do you have any homemade recipes for baths or other hydrotherapy treatments?
Post them in the comments section!
I'd love to read them.