Hydrotherapy is the use of water to apply heat and cold in an effort to move blood and lymphatic fluid through the body. This has the effect of regulating the immune system, aiding healing, and balancing nervous system function. An old therapy for psychiatric patients was long soaks in body temperature water; this is a very calming therapy.
These simple therapies increase immune function during acute illness, as well as calm overactive autoimmune states. As an individual with an autoimmune condition, I can personally vouch for these calming effects, and my children will request treatments at home at the first indication of illness.
I can also give you instructions on home hydrotherapy treatments empowering you in your own health care.
- Warm Sock Treatment – this provides most of the same benefits as constitutional hydrotherapy and can be done easily at home. All you need are a pair of cotton socks, a pair of wool socks, and a bit of water. My mentor Dr. Richard Barrett calls this treatment “naturopathic Tylenol” for its ability to calm a fever.
- cold_sheet_therapy_handout_pdf – this treatment is more stimulating for acute illnesses; you will need access to a hot shower, a wet sheet, a few warm blankets (preferably wool), and a place to lay down for a nap.
- castor-oil – this is not actually a water based treatment, but it can be done easily at home and is a fantastic detoxification treatment. Castor oil is one of my favorite topical treatments.
- alternating-hot-and-cold-therapies – this treatment can be modified for any intended body part and is helpful for stimulating circulation in a targeted area. This can be useful in wound healing, but be sure to check with your doctor, as there are many situations where caution is needed to prevent damage to tissues or infection.