Hydrotherapy Principle Use of water in order to gain therapeutic effects is termed as Hydrotherapy
water is used for the therapeutic purposes since very long time. In ancient time, the presence of natural warm water has been used for the development of spas. Water therapy has many positive effects on the prognosis of many disease. Here, only whirlpool baths and contrast baths are discussed in detail.
These are the tanks that are made up of stainless steel and they are available in various sizes. Small baths are used for the treatment of the limbs and large baths are used where whole body treatment is required as they have the capacity for the patient to sit in them. In these baths, there is an electric pump that creates turbulence or sometimes compressed air is used that causes mixing of air and water into a jet stream, thus creating a whirl pool.
the whirlpool effect that is created causes stimulation of skin surface mechanically. Stimulation of mechano receptors and thermo receptors is responsible for the inhibition of pain possibly due to pain gait mechanism. Along with this, the temperature of the tissues also increases because of condition heating. This will lead to an increase in the blood flow.
Hydrotherapy Principle Clinical Uses:
- Pain relief
- Cleaning of open wounds
- Provocation of granulation tissue formation in varicose ulcers
- Rheumatic disorders
- Reduction of post immobilization stiffness
- Effectively used in sport medicine for relaxation
Treatment of 20 min is given with a temperature range of about 39-45 c in order to gain therapeutic effect.
Hydrotherapy Principle Contraindication:
- Split thickness skin graft applied 3-5 days before the treatment
- Full thickness skin graft applied 7-10 days before the treatment
- Ischemic diseases (arteriosclerosis, buerger’s disease)
- Abnormalities of CVS or heat regulating mechanism
- Fungal infection (tinea pedis, paronychia)
- Acute dermatitis (eczema)
- Skin inflamation due to radiotherapy or chemical irritation
- Presence of edema in some conditions
Hydrotherapy Principle Precautions:
Extreme care should be taken in the following condition
- In edema: As the extremities are immersed in water edema increases
- Infection: Chances of infection increases many folds as a result of repeated soaking in water
- Healing wounds: Healing wounds in which granulation tissue is forming
- external catheter
Those baths that involve alternate immersion in hot and cold water causing increased hyperemia of skin.
Hydrotherapy principle Contrast Baths:
Sensory stimulation of hot and cold receptors in an alternate manner in the skin is responsible for its effects. As the temperature changes rapidly between the two extremities, so before the neural accommodation occurs, temperature is reversed. This alternate stimulation is responsible for the inhibition of pain gait mechanism.
Methods of Application:
Two baths are filled separately. The temperature of one bath is kept hot and maintained at 40-45 c while the temperature of other is kept at 15-20 c (cold range). Initiate and end the treatment with immersion in hot bath. Time for which part is immersed in hot water is longer about 3-4 min than the time in cold water i-e about 1 min. whole cycle of treatment is repeated three or four times and the total session of 15-20 min is recomended.
- Pain relief
- Reduction of local edema
- increase recovery in muscle after strenuous exercise
- Injuries such as muscle sprains
- Increase healing after fracture due to consensual reflex
- Planter fascitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Acute conditions for first 48 hours
- Local malignancy
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Impaired sensations
- Diabetic neuropathy