Hydrotherapy is among the oldest of humanity’s healing methods, going back to the Ancient Indian, Hebrew, and Greek traditions. In the writings of Hippocrates (the Father of Medicine), in the Bible, and in the Rig Veda (the Hindu Scriptures), there are numerous references to the healing power of water and to its use in curing various ailments—from fevers, to headaches, to skin conditions. It is perhaps the most natural of all the natural cures, since it seeks to facilitate the body’s own self-healing mechanisms by stimulating or redirecting blood circulation, by speeding up or slowing down metabolism, and by bringing about cleansing.
Optimized blood circulation through hydrotherapy promotes healing and well-being by carrying well-oxygenated blood, rich in nutrients, to parts of the body where it is needed, as well as by cleansing out toxins and the waste products of metabolism and other body processes. Increased circulation also serves to boost the immune system, tone the muscles, improve digestion, stimulate the endocrine system, improve the body’s reflexes, and reduce stress. Hydrotherapy has been used successfully in the management of joint pain from various forms of arthritis, an ailment that particularly afflicts the elderly.
There are several forms of hydrotherapy, including balneotherapy, the use of medicinal baths, often in combination with various minerals, and thalassotherapy, the therapeutic use of seawater and seascapes. Whatever form it takes, hydrotherapy makes use of temperature, pressure, or chemical reactions, and it is administered through one of the following basic methods of application:
- Cold compress
- Hot compress or fomentation
For the elderly, hydrotherapy can be especially beneficial, even if there are no specific ailments that need healing. The rejuvenating power of water and its ability to stimulate the circulatory system is of special interest in maintaining the natural health and well-being of those who are undergoing the generally degenerative and debilitating effects of aging. Water has the power to restore the body’s youthfulness and to promote general health and well-being. After all, we all begin life in the watery (and richly nurturing) environment of the amniotic fluid in our mother’s womb.
AlfredHouse is pleased to introduce a new program, the Himalaya Club, which takes a holistic approach to elder care and incorporates hydrotherapy, which will play a major part along with other natural and traditional therapies. We look forward to serving our clients with this exciting new approach.
Veena J. Alfred, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer and Administrator