Hydrotherapy Enlightenment: Harnessing the wellness benefits of water

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What comes to mind when hearing the word hydrotherapy? Many tend to visualize something specific. There are so many ways to benefit from hydrotherapy that it is time to become familiar ourselves with these amazing treatments.

 

DEFINITION

“Hydro” comes from the Greek origin meaning “water” and “therapy” is a treatment intended to relieve or heal a disorder. Hydrotherapy is also referred to as the “water cure.” It cannot be emphasized enough that the most precious element of life is water. It is not only refreshing to look at the ocean but water also tastes great and is an essential nutrient for life – all life. Humans can survive three weeks without food but cannot live one week without water.

 

The body is approximately 60% water and the brain and heart are composed of 73% water. Skin is approximately 62% water. Water is the building block of the cells. Infants and children have a have a higher percentage of water, which is a goal to constantly try and maintain as aging begins. Skin care professionals replenish skin topically with serums, moisturizers, and in facials to keep skin’s appearance youthful and hydrated. The earth is approximately 71% water. Without water there is drought, dehydration, and no life. The health benefits of water are a little more common knowledge. Hydration helps regularity, detoxification, complexion, immunity, and even weight management.

 

THERAPEUTIC

Skin care professionals are all too familiar with the word therapy these days. Most commonly it is used for mental and emotional health with a trained professional. It is also commonly used for helping injuries with a physical therapist. Hydrotherapy is often used as a form of physical therapy, due to its resistance and low impact benefits. However, the most ancient form of therapy is actually hydrotherapy. Centuries ago, to Cleopatra and the Roman empire utilized the sacred waters of the Nile River and thermal hot springs. Though many countries and ancient cultures, such as India, China, and Egypt, used water to produce different physiological and therapeutic effects on different parts of the system for maintaining health, preventing, and treating the diseases, the scientific evidence-based effects are not well documented. Some of the most famous Greek philosophers, such as Hippocrates and Plato, wrote about the benefits of hydrotherapy. Water represents hygiene, health, and purification in different cultures and beliefs. The word spa is thought to be derived from the Belgian village of Spa known for its warm mineral springs. The springs were and still are used to treat illnesses and pains. There are still clinical spas to go for treatments, including several locations in Germany that are well equipped with medical facilities to treat cardiovascular, physiotherapy, diabetes, and rheumatology. This naturopathic therapy is based around curative waters which result in an effective detoxification that rids the body of impurities and stimulates the body’s own healing powers.

 

If people love to swim or visit the ocean it is because it is a form of hydrotherapy. In a busy lifestyle, individuals long to get away to visit the ocean, unaware that this has clinical healing effects and is not just for pleasure – no prescription required. Sitting near an ocean has soothing and de-stressing effects on the body. In this industry, one of the primary focuses is relaxation, as 94% of Americans report experiencing stress in the workplace. An alarming percentage of young kids are now experiencing more stress than ever. Stress affects everyone in different ways, including depression, anxiety, and physical ailments. It is important to bring awareness to other forms of healing. When humans overtax the body with over-booked schedules, the body also responds to situations differently than when on a leisurely vacation. So, how can people break up the long distances between a normal work week and a long awaited vacation? Hydrotherapy can be done at health centers, wellness spas, and even at home.

 

TYPES AND BENEFITS

 

There are several options to start putting on the calendar and offering to clients. Exercising in natural elements has greater benefits for mental and emotional health than exercising elsewhere. People join clubs with swimming pools, since it is an excellent form of exercise that is safer on joints. Swimming does not often feel like exercise, but it is one of the best forms. Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, includes all three forms of water (liquid, steam, and ice).

 

Premium, medically-designed hydrotherapy tubs used to be considered extremely expensive to spa owners, but now that most businesses incorporate valuable lasers and machines, these therapeutic tubs no longer give a skin care professional sticker shock. This is an amazing treatment for the person on the go. In 20 minutes, the client is instantly rejuvenated due to the lymphatic drainage jets and minerals and trace elements added to the water. For clients that are too busy, this may be the ideal treatment. A client can actually feel like they spent the entire day at the spa in under 30 minutes. Everyone can make time for that. It is worth missing an episode of a favorite Netflix show for some self-care. Consider having a therapist include shoulder, neck, and scalp massage during the appointment. If a client is under a physician’s care, they should consult their doctor before trying one of these treatments.

 

There are many different types of hydrotherapy, such as capsules, mineral baths, Watsu, steam rooms, and even colon hydrotherapy. Thalassotherapy is also hydrotherapy that includes derivatives from the sea. “Thalasso” comes from the Greek word meaning sea. The extracts from the sea include seaweed, algae, and mud, which are rich in trace elements and minerals. They are known to be healing, relaxing, and detoxifying. This can help aches and pains with anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help aid the body’s natural detoxification process. The soothing properties from nature are also extremely relaxing. In the United States, people tend to think of these treatments as luxuries and indulgent pampering but in other countries it is more medical and consistent. Skin care professionals are starting to recognize the benefits of regular massages and even starting to recognize it with facials, too. These beneficial treatments are much more valuable than indulging in an expensive purse or shoes. Encourage clients to remember themselves first. Years from now it will be such a valuable investment that clients will be happy they made. Thalassotherapy remineralizes the body with a purified, freeze – dried seaweed or sea water through lyophilization. Rebalancing the body’s system helps strengthen immunity and longevity. It is very important for clients to start understanding the benefits of seaweed wraps and hydrotherapy treatments. They not only increase energy and wellness but also metabolism. Seaweed wraps are most commonly used in cellulite treatments. The results are undeniable when done in a series with a proper diet and exercise regimen. In physical therapy, hot tubs, whirlpools, ice packs, and more are all forms of hydrotherapy. The resistance of the pools helps strengthen muscles without the invasive impact to help heal. There is an instinctive relaxation just by the body being immersed into water. It causes clients to focus on breathing and it helps relieve tension and pressure all over. This is why swimming is a form of moving meditation. Cold hydrotherapy is used for depression. The use of hot and cold hydrotherapy affects the body’s physiology and mood. Studies show a three-minute cold shower in the morning gives better results than prescription drugs, plus no side effects. This is why there are an increasing number of cryotherapy locations opening up.

 

Cryotherapy is cold therapy where the body or specific part is exposed to extremely cold temperature for several minutes. It is used to help pains, skin conditions, and mood disorders. Spa capsules are a covered hydrotherapy bed where the client lays with their head outside as the body is encapsulated. Hot steam arises from the bottom half which stimulates circulation and detoxification. Aromatherapy and color light therapy are also incorporated in this extremely soothing treatment. At the conclusion of the treatment, the Vichy showers located at the top of the capsule mist and rinse off the body – this can be done with warm or cold water. When alternating between hot and cold infusion during this treatment, the body’s lymph system jumps into action. The high atomizing mist showers and steam, when moved in unison, produce thermal contrasting, from hot to cold and cold to hot, without thermal shock to the client. The results leave a person feeling totally relaxed and rejuvenated. To completely indulge the client, a facial or scalp massage can be done while the body is being treated in the capsule.

 

Watsu therapy is an aquatic massage where a therapist incorporates warm water and zen shiatsu massage. It is an effective way of mobilizing chi (the bodies life force), through the meridians, which are paths of energy. It was originated and trademarked in 1980 in California by Harold Dull. Although it is used to treat pain and injuries, other conditions such as stress, depression, and insomnia, were treated, as well. This form of hydrotherapy is beneficial for pregnant women, as the warm water is safe and it helps relieve back pain. The warm water also helps to relax and loosen tension. As the client floats, supported by the practitioner, the lightness of the body in the water frees the pressure of the spinal vertebrae and allows the practitioner to articulate the joints and elongate muscles in ways that are not possible out of water. Colon hydrotherapy, also known as colonics, can help with many issues, like allergies, stomach issues, fatigue, insomnia, inflammation, and chronic skin conditions. This treatment uses warm filtered water to help hydrate, stimulate, and dissolve matter in the large intestine. By removing buildup and toxins from the colon, the body becomes rebalanced and functions better. It has been done for centuries and is recommended to be done in a series of three or more. It depends on the individual but usually results are felt after one treatment. This treatment is an excellent service in wellness spas, medical spas, and even as a stand alone business. It is highly recommended to get training and certification; however, most states do not regulate this yet.

 

Contrast hydrotherapy is the use of hot and cold and is a common therapeutic treatment. When heat is used, it expands the blood vessels filling them with blood, which supplies nutrients and oxygen. The cold application constricts the blood vessels, forcing the blood to move to other parts of the body. Improved circulation means more blood is brought to the muscles, toxins and lactic acid are flushed out, and organs are revitalized, such as the brain, for better focus. It also helps the lymphatic system. Steam baths or Turkish baths are warm rooms filled with humidity. They are detoxifying and often include aromatherapy to aid in relaxation and increased detoxification. While steam rooms are filled with moist heat, a sauna provides dry heat from a wood or electric stove. They benefit the cardiovascular system by improving circulation through dilation of the blood vessels or capillaries. Steam room therapy has been shown to reduce blood pressure, keep the heart healthier, and reduce joint pain.

 

PRECAUTIONS

 

 Always have clients consult with their physician first if concerned about health issues. Most hydrotherapy treatments are safe; however, if a client is pregnant, already under a physician’s care, on antibiotics, has heart disease or high or low blood pressure, they should consult with their physician first. Open wounds and alcohol are a contraindication to all hydrotherapy treatments. It is always a good idea to check with a healthcare provider before trying hydrotherapy. There are many options to add onto services in a business. Both medical and holistic facilities use hydrotherapy. All of these treatments discussed promote healing at many levels. At the most basic level, they are relaxing and reduce stress, which is the body’s leading toxin. They also help reduce the negative side effects of stress. Relaxation also helps anxiety, poor breathing patterns, and sleep, which are crucial to a client’s health.

 

There are more ways to incorporate hydrotherapy into one’s life and business. It can be as simple as hot and cold compresses, a spa capsule, or a body wrap. Space and resources are subjective. These treatments have been done since the days of Cleopatra, so it is fair to say they are probably going to be around for a while. They are safe, effective, and can be economical. Water therapy is relaxing, healing, and profitable. The demand these days is higher than the supply of these services mentioned. It is a great time to add these services into a business.

 

 

Nicole Majdali 2019

 

 

 

California native Nicole Majdali has worked as a makeup artist and aesthetician for several leading companies. Her passion and tenacity led her to be a top educator and representative for Janssen Cosmetics and Dr Schrammek in a couple of United States territories for over 15 years. She has studied and been certified in Germany twice and is getting ready for her third certification there in 2020. She is working as a lead educator for these two companies primarily in Los Angeles, California. Majdali’s career has expanded beyond the aesthetics industry into entertainment these days, but she incorporates her knowledge in wellness and beauty into both worlds. She has been a DERMASCOPE contributor since January 2019. Her favorite quote is “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

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