Fifteen of the basic principles for giving hydrotherapy treatments
Here are but a few of the many water therapy principles:
• It is the heat and cold of the water that produces the results. Neutral temperatures are good for relaxing the person, but they do not produce the powerful effects that hot and cold can give.
• Water is capable of absorbing and storing a larger amount of heat than nearly any other substance on earth; that is, it has a high specific heat. This means that, when water is applied to the body (in a cloth, bath, shower, etc.), it will impart more heat (or cold) than any other substance at the same temperature.
• In its effects, ice is far colder than its temperature of 32o F., and steam is far hotter than 212o F. (Keep in mind that steam can burn.)
• Water must be in contact with the body for awhile in order to impart heat or cold. But it only need contact it for a moment to give a thermic impression that can be quite strong. For example, plunge your arm for only a moment into a pail of very cold water. It was only there for a moment, but the effect on the circulating blood in the arm will be powerful. This is thermic impression, and it is very important. You do not have to cool the body with lengthy cold in order to have it react strongly to that cold.
• Water is the world's greatest solvent. It can cleanse better than anything else. It can remove wastes. But it can also hold nutrients placed within it for the body to absorb.
• Neither infants nor aged persons bear cold treatment well. Some chill after almost any kind of cold application. Remember that they are only being helped if they react well to the cold application. If they do not, then they are not being helped. Conditions which do not react well to cold would include anemia, emaciation, asthenia, extreme thinness, etc. If a person cannot be benefited by cold, then apply mild heat instead. Always keep the feet warm.
• The body should be warm before the cold is applied. He should become warm afterward. Exercise, friction, percussion—all help bring a good reaction. Hot given beforehand to warm the body also aids it. You may need to apply hot to the feet before the cold is given, and, if need be, afterward also.
• The cold treatment should be given quickly. As soon as it is completed, quickly dry him. Friction as he is rubbed with the towel, or afterward, will also help warm him. He must be dried very quickly and well. Dry him in a warm room, near where the last cold application was given. Have his clothes all ready for him to put on. This requires advance planning. Carelessness after the cold can undo all the value that could have been gained from it.
• By alternating the hot and cold applications, the beneficial properties of both may be obtained without many of the disadvantages of either.
What Hydrotherapy does for the body:
• Bring blood to an afflicted part. This will frequently be an area closer to the surface and outside of the trunk.
• Pull blood from a deeper internal organ to the skin just above it. This deeper, congested, area is often in the trunk, and the hot application (or a cold-to-heating application) was placed on the skin just above that organ.
• Draw blood away from a deeper, congested, organ by placing the application, not on the skin just above the internal organ,—but on a reflex area somewhere else on the body.
• Pull blood from the internal organ to a distant body part (usually the legs and/or feet—best both). This is called derivation, and is frequently done at the same time that an application is made just above the internal organ (or to a reflex area connected to it by nerves), to also pull blood away from that congested organ.
• A proximal compress, consisting of a cold application, may be placed on an extremity. An example would be an ice compress around the neck. This will greatly reduce the amount of blood flowing into the head.
• A full application to most of the body to relieve congestion, equalize the circulation, and bring warmth from that application (a hot pack, apply heat) or by reaction to it (a heating compress, applying cold for the body to heat).
Water is a most precious gift from God. Make good use of it, in both sickness and in health.
Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word.