It is so common in our daily lives that we completely overlook the powerful healing element that is right in front of us and is as close as the faucet.
Water that is used in the treatment of disease, (hydrotherapy), had its origins in ancient times. “From the dawn of recorded history, various baths have been used for the treatment of disease”.
The proper use of hydrotherapy, and other remedies were being successfully applied to such illnesses as pneumonia, rheumatic fever, typhoid, and polio before the antibiotic era – without the undesirable side affects.
Hydrotherapy, though it takes time to apply, seeks to aid and encourage the body’s own defense mechanisms by encouraging circulation and enhancing the immune system.
The agent used in hydrotherapy is water, which is simple and readily available. As ice it can be applied to reduce pain and swelling in such conditions as a sprained ankle. As a liquid, water can be used both for drinking thus cleansing the body inside, and as bathing to cleanse the outside. As a vapor, water can be used in a steam bath to produce sweat thus helping the body to rid itself of waste materials.
Not only can water be used in all three states, but liquid water can also be applied both hot and cold. Hot and cold stimulate responses in the body to help fight various ailments. Heat causes the blood vessels to expand or dilate, while cold causes them to constrict. This creates a pumping action when the hot and cold are alternated, and encourages greater efficiency of the blood circulation, which carries oxygen and the army of the immune system’s white blood cell family.
A simple treatment that can be used to treat colds is the hot footbath. Wrap up in a blanket and place the feet in a bucket of hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a cold cloth on the neck and/or forehead to keep the head cool. As the water cools, add more hot water to the foot bucket to keep the water at least 100°. At the completion of the 20 – 30 minutes, place the feet in cold water for 15 to 30 seconds. Dry the feet thoroughly and put on warm socks. Dry the body as well and put on dry clothes as this treatment makes you perspire. Be sure to rest 30 to 60 minutes after the treatment as resting helps to make the treatment more effective.1
This treatment is also good for some headaches. Menstrual cramps can also be relieved by the same principle (omit the cold in this case). Caution: If you have diabetes or poor circulation and/or numbness in the feet and legs, use only very mild heat to the feet, (no more than 104°). Test the water with your elbow as the hands can tolerate greater temperature extremes than the feet so are not a safe guide in determining a safe temperature for the feet).
Whenever treating illnesses with hydrotherapy such as colds, it is most beneficial to catch them early. If the cold already has a good hold on you, hydrotherapy can still be helpful to shorten the duration or reduce the symptoms.
It is always a good idea to pray before hydrotherapy treatments as we seek to aid the defense mechanisms our wise Creator has placed in our bodies.
This information is not intended to take the place of your healthcare provider or to treat any specific case. Consult your healthcare provider about your individual situation and whether hydrotherapy is safe for your condition.
Home Remedies by Drs. Agatha Thrash, M.D. & Calvin Thrash, M.D. Copyright 2001 ↩