Water is one of the most healing and powerful elements on earth. And the art of using it to heal known as hydrotherapy: the application of water in any form, internally or externally, to treat disease and/or maintain health.
This was a course I took in med school which focused on all the ways water (in all forms) can be used to add health to the body. This isn’t just using ice for acute injuries; a true hydrotherapist understands the mechanics of manipulating circulation to maximize the life-giving properties of the blood.
Here are 3 ways to use this life-giving element.
1) Steam inhalation
Feeling a little congested? A bit of a cough? Or a cold?
This technique is super simple. Grab a bowl, boil some water, grab a towel and your favorite essential oil and you’re off!
- Use eucalyptus essential oil for opening airways, and congestion.
- Use lemon oil for a mood boost.
- Use rosemary for lung health.
- Use lavender or mint for sinus infections.
- Use basil for a brain boost.
Boil water. Add to a big bowl. Drop a few drops of essential oil into the water. Sit with your face over the bowl and drape a towel over your head and breathe in for 2 minutes.
Repeat two to three times a day as needed.
2) Alternating hot cold
This method is great for sprains, strains and breaks.
The act of alternating hot and cold vasodilates and vasoconstricts so it acts as a pump to help with swelling, increasing blood flow to an injured area and also increases immune cells to aid in healing.
On or around injury do 3 minutes hot (use a hot water bottle ideally) then 1 minute cold (ice pack ideally).
Alternate this sequence for 3 rounds.
Repeat 3 times a day or as needed.
3) Neutral bath
I was fascinated by this treatment when I learned of it in med school.
It’s a full body emersion in water that is 93-97 degrees for 20-60 minutes.
The neutral temp equalizes circulation, which decreases congestion and produces sedation if there is any cerebral congestion. In the neutral temp the nervous system is allowed to rest and tranquilize.
It’s highly beneficial for:
- Nervous exhaustion
- Panic attacks
4) Drink the stuff
And then of course drink it.
Ideally half your body weight in ounces of water a day (more if you are working out).
We are made of mostly water so replenishing on the daily is essential.
The kidneys are also one of our primary eliminatory organs where toxicity can EXIT the body. so support them!