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3 powerful ways to use water to heal your body

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Hydrotherapy focuses around the principle of water cure. Naturopathic doctors use the principle of water cure to harness the healing powers of water to reduce inflammation and detoxify the body.

Some treatments that work with these principles are steam inhalation, body wraps, infrared saunas, peat baths, steam showers, and many others to address both acute and chronic pains. If you are pregnant, have diabetes, Raynaud’s disease or MS consult an ND before trying hydrotherapy at home.

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is an easy form of hydrotherapy that can be done at home to relieve coughs, sore throat, congestion, and post nasal drip. The procedure involves breathing in hot, moist air which leads to moistening of the upper respiratory tract and thinning of any mucous that is present, causing them to come out (usually through the nose).

Adding essential oils can have an anti-microbial effect (depending on which type is used) to further help with clearing the infection.

What you will need:

  • Kettle with boiling water

  • A towel

  • A large bowl

  • Essential oils (such as eucalyptus or tea tree)

How to do it:

  1. Boil water in the kettle and put it in the bowl.

  2. Add 1-2 drops of essential oil (optional).

  3. Lean over the bowl and place the towel over your head, shoulders and over the bowl.

  4. Begin to breathe normally for 20-30 minutes. To make this as comfortable as possible, sit close to the table that the bowl is on and keep the bowl close enough to you that you don’t have to slouch over it to breathe. You can wipe your face with a cool face cloth as needed.


Contrast Showers

Contrast Showers are something that I (surprisingly) LOVE, I do them every morning. The idea here is that you alternate between hot water and cold water while you are in the shower. Long, hot water showers increase metabolism and cause vasodilation, which decreases blood pressure. This causes toxins and waste to start building up but they aren’t drained because the blood vessels are “relaxed”.

Cold water will cause the blood vessels to vasoconstrict  and cause blood to move away as a result of the cold temperature coming down onto the skin. Therefore, we want a hot shower (which releases toxins) to end with cold water “blast” in order to flush built up toxins out of circulation. This method is really good for boosting immune function, increasing detoxification and soothing sore muscles.

What you will need:

  • A shower

How to do it:

  1. Get into a shower of warm water, warming your body for a few minutes.

  2. Once your body has warmed up, turn the water to as hot as you can safely handle for at least 1 minute or as long as you can for up to 3 minutes.

  3. Turn the water to as cold as you can handle for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

  4. Repeat this contrast 3 to 4 times, ending the treatment on 30 seconds to 1 minute of cold water.

Some tips:
-The goal is to work up to hot temperatures and down to cold temperatures, so if it is your first time and the coldest temperature you can handle is lukewarm, that is fine. Attempt to go a bit colder the next day and so on.
-The greater the difference between hot and cold temperatures, the more intense the treatment will be.
-Get as much of your body wet during the cold interval as possible in order to stimulate the entire body.
-You may want to rub your limbs and the rest of your body with your hand, bath mitt or a facecloth during the cold interval in order to feel warmer.


Foot Baths

Foot Baths are probably something that don’t need much explanation. They can be great for warming the feet and drawing blood from the upper body to the lower body to relieve congestion. This is a good method to get relief from conditions like congestion of the lungs, nose and head, menstrual cramps, digestive issues and headaches.

People that frequently get headaches can benefit from putting their feet in a hot foot bath and putting a cold cloth on the neck. This causes blood to move away from the head, toward the feet to relieve the throbbing and pain.

What you will need:

  • A chair

  • 2 pots or a basins

  • Hot & cold water

  • A wash cloth

How to do it:

  1. Fill 1 basin with cold water  and 1 basin 1/3 of the way with warm water, put your feet in.

  2. Once your feet are used to the temperature add some hotter water.

  3. Leave your feet in for 10-15 minutes.

  4. Finish off your bath by dipping your feet in the cold pot for 1 minute.


MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or replace that of your healthcare practitioner. If you need immediate medical assistance please consult your healthcare provider.


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