Since the beginning of time, water has been seen as a source of healing properties. It is said that the water cleanses and purifies. In more medical terms, water eliminates inflammations and infections, helps to heal better and cheaper than many other advanced chemicals.
In hydrotherapy or aquatic physical therapy, patients are gently treated with water in different modalities and techniques such as:
- Compresses and promotions
- Swirling baths
- Underwater massage
- Swimming pool
Hydrotherapy has been used for decades as part of a comprehensive treatment in the case of various health conditions, from cases of severe arthritis to post-surgical knee or hip therapies.
We see a great work of hydrotherapy in the treatment of fibromyalgia, where symptoms or clinical manifestations include generalized body discomfort, pain, sleep disorders, fatigue, anxiety, are improved on a large scale with the therapeutic use of water.
In patients with limited movement due to paralysis or pain, this type of therapy helps the patient improve their condition, as in cases where the muscle suffers from an injury or disease.
The immersion of the patient in the water helps in the recovery of multiple conditions.
– With water in hot temperatures:
- Analgesia: It is given by raising the sensitivity threshold of pain receptors and decreasing the speed of nerve conduction, decreased muscle contracture and the release of encephalin and endorphins.
- Increased temperature and capillary vasodilation: If a dive is made the skin temperature rises between 0.5 and 3 degrees C, producing an increase in all organic functions by overheating.
- Sedative effect: Thanks to the action of heat on nerve endings. Very hot and short applications can cause insomnia and prolonged hot applications can cause tiredness or fatigue.
- Antispasmodic effect: Hot short applications increase tone and improve muscle performance. Long-term apliucations lasting between 36 and 38 degrees C decrease tone, combat contracture and muscle fatigue.
- Effects on connective tissue: Increased elasticity and decreased viscosity.
– With water in cold temperatures:
- Decrease in the local temperature of the skin and underlying tissues.
- Thermoreceptor Stimulation
- Vasoconstriction of the skin
- Decreased heat loss
- Prevention of edema due to decreased permeability
- Delays the healing process in prolonged applications.
- Reduces the excitability of free nerve endings.
- Increase pain threshold (then increase pain tolerance)
- Increase stimulation threshold of muscle spindles
- Cold applications of short duration stimulate and increase the tone.
Hydrotherapy is indicated in those cases where it is required:
- Muscle relaxation
- Antispasmodic Effect
- A heating medium to improve exercise
- Increase joint mobility
- Increased cutaneous blood flow
- Burn and wound treatment
- Peripheral vascular system stimulation
- Infectious processes
- Bad general state
- Coronary insufficiency
- Severe organic insufficiency
- Circulatory insufficiency