What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is the use of water at different temperatures. It includes therapeutic treatments using water. Therefore also called as water therapy. There are different types of therapeutic baths in hydrotherapy including immersion, contrast and paraffin bath.
In hydrotherapy immersion bath is a technique for newborn bathing while they are loosely wrapped in a blanket. The newborn along with a blanket is immersed together into a tub of water in which water covers body and blanket to the baby’s shoulder.
Immersion have following effects:
Exerts hyper thermic action, Increased Blood flow, Metabolic waste elimination, Improves physical health, Physical refreshment, Improves emotional aspects
Hot immersion bath is given at a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius and gradually raised to 40 degrees Celsius by adding hot water as required. Before taking this bath baby is wrapped in a blanket. Then immersed up to shoulders in a tub of water. Each limb is then individually unwrapped, washed, rinsed and then again wrapped.
It may cause adverse effects like:
Skin macerationExcessive vasodilatationHyperthermiaEdema
Should be avoided in following conditions:
Open wounds, Active infection, Hydrophobia, Cold Intolerance, Heat intolerance, Poor balance.
Contrast bath consist of immersing a body part alternately in hot and cold water. This treatment may be applied by heat application. The blood vessels expand or dilate with heat and contract with cold increasing the circulation or blood flow to the treated part. Increased blood flow enhances the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the body cells and hastens the removal of cells waste products. The result is increased cell metabolism and more rapid healing of treated body part.
- Increased blood flow
- Increased cell metabolism
- Rapid healing
- Increased circulation
- Reduced swelling
- Relieves headache
- Treats infections
- In contrast bath we need two large basins for hot and cold water.
- Towels, pitcher of hot water, light blanket or sheets.
- Explain the procedure and assist the patient in preparation for treatment.
- Encourage confidence in treatment and divine remedies by beginning each treatment with prayer.
- Begin with hot water bath, start with milder heat increase heat as much can be tolerate able.
- After 3-4 minutes transfer to cold water bath for 1 minute.
- During treatment keep hot and cold baths at desired temperature by adding hot or cold water as needed.
- Place a cold compress to the head if sweating occurs.
- Treat 1-4 times per day.
- At the completion of treatment thoroughly dry the treated body part.
- If sweating occurs remove the damp clothing and dress in dry ones.
- Rest for 30-60 minutes after each treatment.
- In case of infections or muscle, joint injuries start treatment with hot water as tolerate able and alternate from hot to cold 5-7 times.
Contrast bath carry no risk when performed correctly main dangers are:
- Skin burns
- Skin damage
- Contrast bath is contraindicated in following cases:
- obesity of 4th stage
- Musculoskeletal disorders in exacerbation phase
- Chronic adenitis
- Subacute Prostatitis
- hypersensitivity to cold
- Acute injuries
Paraffin bath contain melted paraffin with small amount of mineral oil (seven parts paraffin one part mineral oil) are another form of superficial thermotherapy. These are typically used to treat hands and feet and are best for areas dipped in paraffin.
It acts like heat therapy and helps:
- Increase blood flow
- relax muscles
- decrease joint stiffness
- minimize muscle spasms
- minimize inflammation
- treat sprains
- Paraffin bath is a simple, convenient and reasonably efficient method of applying heat to extremities.
- It is used for conductive heat gains.
- Paraffin bath temperature is generally in range of 118 Fahrenheit to 126 Fahrenheit.
- Most common application involves dipping the hand or foot into paraffin 7-12 times to form a glove.
- Then cover the glove with plastic bag and wrapping it with towels to help retain heat.
If you have very sensitive skin paraffin wax may cause :
- Heat rashes
- Red bumps
- Open sores
Paraffin bath is not used in case of:
- Open cuts
- Deep X-Rays