Since ages numerous diseases have been treated by Water. Ancient Egyptians, Roman and Greek Civilizations too depended on water for routine treatments. Ancient Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and flowers immersed in water. The use of water as a therapeutic agent was revived during the 19th century.
Hydrotherapy (Water Therapy) is the oldest, safest, and most inexpensive way to treat common ailments. Hydrotherapy makes use of physical properties of water for treatment. They buoyancy of water helps reduce the effect of gravity, thereby utilizing less energy for performing movements. Hence, people suffering from painful joints or muscles, can perform simple exercises more easily in water than outside. Apart from this, the hydrostatic pressure of water promotes better blood circulation imparting a sense of well being. This, when performed in warm water (wherein the pool is at a temperature of about 34 degree centigrade), further increases the benefit.
Another unique property of water is that resistance to any movement increases with the speed of movement. This aspect is particularly beneficial for strengthening of muscles. Water, being natures healer, has beneficial effects on the skin and muscles. It calms the internal organs and the endocrine system, and stimulates nerve reflexes on the spinal cord. While heat quiets and soothes the body, cold stimulates and rejuvenates the body.
Studies conducted at Mayo Clinic revealed that soaking in a hot bath provides immense health benefits that are otherwise obtained through exercise, with less strain on the heart. Soaking in a hot bath increases the heart rate, and lowers blood pressure, just as when doing other exercises.
Numerous researchers now, are of the opinion that patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can safely exercise by following tailor-made water exercises. Water therapeutically massages joints every movement. It helps increase aerobic capacity, overall activity levels, and muscle strength in rheumatoid arthritic patients.
Hydrotherapy is also beneficial in treating several musculoskeletal and neurological ailments such as neck pain, back pain, sports injury, arthritis, head injury, spasticity, stroke and paralysis. It also helps in post surgery rehabilitation. It can also be used as a mode of exercise during pre and post deliver, for weight reduction and for relaxation purposes.
There are several forms of Hydrotherapy, one of which is, Submersive hydrotherapy. This involves submerging all parts of the body in water or in a pool or tank and may involve use of various types of equipment, with or without whirling water. These techniques are now adopted in several spas.