Scottsdale Hydrotherapy 101
Most of us know the word “hydro” to mean water. So when we see the word hydrotherapy, we already have some insight into the fact that there will be water involved. While there are numerous variations of hydrotherapy, they all do indeed involve water, but more importantly, they embrace the contrasting temperatures of water to stimulate healing. So how does this work?
When you place a hot compress on your body, it often feels soothing and can aid in relaxation. Women often place hot packs on their abdomen to help them cope with menstrual cramps. In fact, this heat is having a physiological affect on your body. The heat causes vasodilation, which is the expansion of your blood vessels. This increases blood flow to help reduce pain and relax your muscles. However, it is not always optimal to use hot therapy alone, as this can actually lead to inflammation.
When you place an ice pack or cold compress on your body, like when you sprain your ankle, it helps to reduce both pain and inflammation. How does this work? The cold causes vasoconstriction, or a narrowing of your blood vessels. This slows down blood flow to an injury, reducing the inflammatory response.
So what happens if you combine hot and cold compresses, as we do in hydrotherapy? By causing vasodilation, or widening of the blood vessels, with the hot compress followed by vasoconstriction, or narrowing of the blood vessels, with the cold compresses, we cause a literal “pumping” action of both the blood vessels and the lymphatics. This pumping of the blood vessels allows us to deliver more nutrition to our cells and aids in increasing healthy cellular function and metabolism. The pumping of the lymphatic system, which is responsible for a lot of our immune function, fatty acid absorption, and removal of interstitial fluid from tissues, allows us to remove waste from our bodies more efficiently and to enhance our immune system. In fact, studies have shown that hydrotherapy has an effect on increasing our white blood cells, an essential part of our immune system.
Constitutional Hydrotherapy is used for various conditions, including fatigue, immune dysregulation, detoxification, and poor circulation, to name a few. The health benefits are numerous! For questions or to set up your first session, contact Dr. Lim, the Scottsdale Hydrotherapy 101 expert at (480)418-4127 today!