Where does hydrotherapy come from?
Hydrotherapy (water cures) refers to applications of warm but primarily cold water. It is one of the oldest forms of treatment. Even in ancient Rome, it was used with success.
However, the therapy was forgotten for a long time.
It was the naturopath Prießnitz and Father Sebastian Kneipp who first rediscovered the beneficial effects of water applications and added their own findings. Prießnitz's wraps and Kneipp's affusions as well as his water-treading have become famous worldwide. To date, hydrotherapy is used to prevent and treat acute and chronic conditions.
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.