Hydrotherapy / WATER THERAPY

Hydrotherapy is an important healing system of naturopathic medicine. It utilizes the therapeutic benefits of water supply in several ways and also encourages a specific result in any patient’s treatment plan. It can be used as part of a therapeutic treatment plan for a broad range of conditions, which are as follows:

  • Insomnia, stress, and headache
  • Pain relief
  • Colds, flu and, other infections
  • Immune system disorders
  • Detoxification and elimination
  • Injuries and inflammatory disorders
  • Circulatory and respiratory health

Hydrotherapy uses its temperature effects such as hot and cold baths, saunas, and proves to be effective in all its forms like vapor, steam, ice, and fluid. Water has always been regarded as the most beneficial and ancient remedial agent for diseases. Hydriatic application is given in different temperatures, the temperature of application is mentioned below:

S.No.Temperature Fahrenheit Celsius
1Very Cold30-55-1 -13
7Very hotAbove 104Above 40

Effects and uses of water 

Taking a bath with clean water is an excellent way of Hydrotherapy. Such baths help to open up all the pores of the skin and make the body fresh. In the cold bath, all the systems of the body get activated and the blood circulation gets improved. In ancient times, the tradition of bathing in the rivers, ponds, or waterfalls on specific occasions was also a form of hydrotherapy.

  • Hydrotherapy is one of the most flexible mediums for producing thermic and mechanical effects. It can be applied to a limited area or the whole body surface. 
  • Hydrotherapy is effective in absorbing heat and reflects heat efficaciously. Hence, it can be used for abstracting heat from the body. Since water is the chief element, the main motive is to increase the vital power to generate more heat and reduce body heat. 
  • The fact that water is a universal solvent, it is used in the form of Enema or Colonic Irrigation as it helps in the elimination of uric acid, urea, salt, and excessive sugar. 
  • It must be noted that the performing use of these methods requires a certain level of vital power. In chronic cases, these baths are less effective as the vital power is low but in such cases, the packs are useful because they are milder in their application. And in acute conditions, there are higher chances of vital power and thus, higher chances of vital reaction.

Water is useful in many forms of treatment, which are defined below: 

Compresses and Fomentation:

  • Cold Compress: Abdominal Cold Compress 
  • Heating Compress: Chest pack, abdominal pack, throat pack, Knee pack, wet girdle pack, and full wet sheet pack. 
  • Hot and Cold Compress: Gastro-Hepatic, Lung, Head, Kidney, pelvic & Abdominal hot and cold compresses.
  • Fomentation


  • Hip bath- cold, Hot, neutral, Sitz Bath, and alternative hip bath.
  • Sauna Bath 
  • Sponge Bath 
  • Spinal Bath & Spinal Spray- Cold, neutral, hot 
  • Steam Inhalation and steam bath 
  • Foot and Arm bath: Cold, Hot foot bath, Arm bath, Arm bath and hot foot bath, Contrast Foot Bath, and Contrast Arm Bath. 

Jet Spray massages:

  • Affusion Baths: Cold Affusions, Hot Affusions, Hot and Cold Affusions, Neutral Affusions. 
  • Hot, cold, neutral, alternate, circular jet spray massages
  • Trauma 
  • Cold shower 

Immersion Baths:

  • Cold Immersion Bath, Hot Immersion, Neutral Immersion Bath, Cold Immersion with Friction, Graduated Immersion Bath with Epsom Salt, Asthma Bath, Neutral Half Bath, Whirlpool Bath, underwater massage.


  • Neutral Irrigation, Hot Irrigation, Vaginal Irrigation, Cold Irrigation, Graduated Enema. 

Colon Hydrotherapy 

Colon Hydrotherapy is the process of flushing out colon or large intestine. It is the treatment that is similar to an enema but is quite extensive. The treatment uses filtered water under gentle pressure to detoxify colon or stagnated fecal materials. Depending on the individual, the number of sessions of the treatment may vary. Generally, it requires a series of 3-6 treatments to receive a thorough cleansing of the colon. 

Principles of Hydrotherapy 

Buoyancy: According to Archimedes’s Principle of Buoyancy a body immersed in the liquid will experience an upward pressure which is equal to the weight of the displaced liquid. This is the reason why anybody feels less weight in water. The buoyancy of the water resists with the exercises of the extremist. Also, postural alignment and surface area immersed in the water can affect the buoyancy of water. 

Hydrostatic Pressure: Hydrostatic pressure is defined as the perpendicular force of water against the surface of the body. It increases with depth and density of the liquid also increases. 

Cohesion: Water molecules have got the properties to attract each other which makes molecules cohesive. Thus, it would result in an increase in resistance to a range of motion compared to that of the air. 

Viscosity: Viscosity is internal friction which purely relies on the liquid’s speed. In other words, the higher the speed of the liquid, the higher the viscosity would be and eventually, raises resistance to the movement. Moreover, the shape of the object also impacts on viscosity. A larger or the object having more speed faces greater resistance to motion in the water. 

Hydrotherapy Contraindication 

Hydrotherapy must be avoided in the following conditions:

  • Altered sensation
  • Hydrophobia
  • Open wounds
  • Active infection
  • Heat or cold intolerance
  • Poor balance

Hydrotherapy treatment benefits 

The recuperative properties of hydrotherapy are based on its mechanical or thermal effects. It uses the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli, to prolonged application of heat, to pressure exerted by the water, and to the sensation it gives. It aims to stimulate the immune system, influencing the production of hormones of stress, promoting the flow of blood, invigorating the digestion, and lessening pain sensitivity. Basically, heat calms the body and also helps in slowing down the internal organs’ activity. On the contrary, cold induces and invigorates the internal activity. There are numerous benefits of hydrotherapy treatment which are as follows: 

  • Relieve arthritis pain
  • Improve muscle flexibility
  • Improve range of motion
  • Fight fatigue
  • Management of acute or chronic pain
  • Weight loss
  • Fight fatigue
  • Aid in relaxation and lower stress levels
  • Rehabilitation for pre and post-joint replacement surgery
  • Improve strength via resistance training