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Hydrotherapy: Types, Used and Benefits

By Anand Dubey March 10, 2021

Hydrotherapy: Types, Used and Benefits

Hydrotherapy treatment method

Hydrotherapy, known as “Jal Chikitsa” in Hindi, is a treatment method which uses water. The therapy uses cold and hot water or steam to relieve pain from the body and ensure good health. 

Hydrotherapy can treat rheumatic fever (bacterial infection of the throat), arthritis, and joint discomfort. We normally do this treatment method in the Physiotherapy department of the hospital. It is a Japanese therapy that exists for more than 4500 years.

Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy has the following advantages:

  • The therapy is a panacea treatment for recurrent and prolonged pain.
  • It takes toxins out of the body by detoxification of the body through this therapy.
  • This therapy helps in providing relaxation to the muscles by correcting the stiff muscles.
  • Hydrotherapy increases the digestive system and metabolic rate of the body. 
  • It improves muscle and skin tone and keeps the cells hydrated.
  • Hydrotherapy increases the immunity of the body and helps in problems like Arthritis and joint pain.
  • It also improves blood flow to the organs and increases the efficiency of a person.
  • Hydrotherapy also helps to heal the injured organs of the body and reduce labor pains.

Types of Hydrotherapy

Watsu- Watsu is a technique of massaging underwater. In this, the therapist ask the patient to swim in a pool of warm water. The therapist then performs a massage of the patient inside water.

Sitz Bath- In the Sitz Bath technique of hydrotherapy, one tube of hot and cold water is kept together. They ask the patient to sit in one tube and place the foot in another tube. Therapists use it to relieve problems like pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), hemorrhoids, and menstruation.

Steam bath or Turkish bath- Steam Bath removes impurities from the body. In this, they ask the patient to stay between the heat and humidity in the steam houses for some time.

Sauna Bath- This is a commonly used technique while using hydrotherapy. This increases sweat in the body by hot and dry air. So that waste material can releases from the person’s body.

Compress- In this technique, the therapist soaks towel in hot or cold water and placed on any part of the body. Coldwater reduction reduces burning sensation and inflammation. At the same time, blood flow is corrected with the help of hot water. It also relieves muscle pain and stiffness.

Wrapping- In this, the patient lies down and is wrapped in a cold and wet flannel sheet. The patient is then covered with a dry towel and blanket. This causes the body to heat up and the wrapped wet sheet begins to dry. This technique can also be used in skin troubles, colds, and muscle aches.

Bathing in hot water- According to physicians, one should remain in hot water for a maximum of 30 minutes. You can mix mineral mud, aromatherapy oil, ginger, moor mud (a paste with medicinal properties) in hot water for bathing. This helps in correcting blood circulation.

Contrast Hydrotherapy – In this technique, the treatment is done by first giving a bath with hot water and then cold water for three minutes. This is done three times in total. In this, the process of bathing should end with cold water. Contrast hydrotherapy is extremely beneficial in chronic pain.

Warming Socks – In this, two cotton socks are worn, and then woollen socks are worn over them. They do this at night before bedtime and remove the socks in the morning. This therapy corrects the increase in blood flow and excess blood coagulation in the upper body.

Hot fomentation- This technique is used to cure colds and phlegm in the chest. It also reduces their duration with symptoms of problems.

Hydrotherapy Pool Exercise – In this technique, we do exercise in a pool of hot water. In which physical strength seems less. People consider it beneficial in back pain, arthritis, and other bone-related problems.

Note- Before using any technique of hydrotherapy, be sure to consult the hydrotherapy specialist. Doing so without a physiotherapist can cause more harm rather than profit.


According to hydrological experts, cold water causes contraction in the blood arteries of the body. This facilitates the blood flow from the layers of the body to the internal organs and the arteries. This activates sweat glands and excretes residual matter from the body tissues as sweat. Apart from this, the interchangeable treatment of cold and hot water also reduces inflammation. At the same time, there is also stimulation in the blood flow and lymphatic system.


  • In hydrotherapy, the elderly and children should avoid bathing with cold water.
  • People with heart diseases should avoid taking a sauna bath.

Side-effects of Hydrotherapy

  • Risk of allergy diseases related to the skin 

Hydrotherapy can increase the risk of skin allergies and skin diseases. It causes allergies in some people. This happens because of medicines and oils.

  • Discomfort with hot water

In hydrotherapy, discomfort with hot water is the most common problem. This can prove harmful at any time.

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