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Hydrotherapy: Gentle Treatment, Powerful Results

Water is a universal element. The planet is 70% water. Our body is about 70% water. Every cell in the body contains water and is bathed in fluid containing water. Water has been used to heal for centuries (Think of the elaborate bathing structures the Greeks and Romans built!).

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is the application of water in any form, either externally or internally, in the treatment of disease and in the maintenance of health.

Hot applications cause dilation of blood vessels, drawing blood to the surface of the skin, opening pores, and causing sweating.

Cold applications cause constriction of blood vessels, moving blood from the body’s surface to the core and vital organs.

Alternating hot and cold gets a pumping action going, stimulating circulation through the internal organs, increasing digestive enzyme production, and increasing oxygen in the blood. All of these actions are useful for treating disease.

There are a variety of ways to perform hydrotherapy – bath, compress, wet sheet wrap, poultice, steam inhalation, enemas, ice packs, steam inhalation, sauna.

How does Hydrotherapy help?

Hydrotherapy increases the number of white and red blood cells in circulation as well as the flow of lymphatic fluid, improving overall circulation and moving wastes to the kidneys to be excreted.  It also strengthens the immune system and induces a parasympathetic (rest and digest) response.

Home Hydrotherapy examples:

Water is readily available for most people and can be used to perform hydrotherapy treatments at home.

  • Looking for more energy in the morning? Ending morning showers with water as cold as is tolerable for 30 seconds is an excellent method for increasing energy to start your day.
  • Feel a sore throat or cold coming on? Use warming socks – right before bed warm your feet in a bath or shower, dry feet, wet a pair of cotton socks in cold water and wring out. Once in bed, put on the cold cotton socks then pull a pair of wool socks over them. This acts to pull any congestion from the head or chest down to the feet. You will wake up with dry socks in the morning.


  • Boyle, Wade. Saine, Andre. Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Buckeye Naturopathic Press, 1988
  • Dick-Kronenberg, Letitia. The Ultimate Text in Constitutional Hydrotherapy. 2012.
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