The method of action
With brief applications of cold water (one second to one minute), temperature stimuli are conveyed via the skin which trigger positive reactions in the body: The temporary narrowing of the blood vessels with subsequent vascular expansion promotes circulation throughout the body. This strengthens immune defenses, stimulates the circulatory and nervous system as well as metabolism and invigorates the body.
Warm water is also commonly used in hydrotherapy –particularly in the case of contrast applications (cold/warm). These are especially preferred by untrained persons since they are gentler. Depending on one's constitution, an increase in stimulus through cold water applications can be achieved.
If used regularly, hydrotherapy provides long-term support to the immune system and helps the body activate its self-healing powers.
To date, water applications form the foundation of Kneipp therapy. Because they are so easy to perform, they are also suitable in most cases for application at home. For the affusions, for example, a shower hose with the head removed can be used.