What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is basically an alternative therapy that makes use of water in treating certain illnesses whilst maintaining good health. It uses water in different forms, such as steam and ice. Hydrotherapy helps relieve muscle pain, improves circulation and promotes good health. Also known as balneotherapy, hydrotherapy is being practiced by licensed medical professionals known as the hydrotherapists and naturopaths.
How Does Hydrotherapy Work to Help Fibromyalgia?
There are various theories that explain how hydrotherapy works. Most of these focus on the two properties of water, the buoyancy and temperature.
Experts believe that water is an excellent substance that carries temperature. Therefore, it is capable of retaining cold and heat that can be applied easily to the body. The temperature will then affect your body in certain ways. Specifically, the temperature can help in the constriction and dilation of blood vessels. This change leads to an improved circulation, faster healing and better removal of toxins within the body.
In addition, water works as an effective pain reliever due to its buoyancy. It supports various areas of the body and helps in reducing muscle pain and joint strain. Water’s natural movement can also help in stimulating the touch receptors of your skin. This will make your body produce electronic impulses that will trigger the release of certain chemicals and hormones. As a result, these hormones help heal your body of the pain and will make you feel relaxed.
Uses of Hydrotherapy
Aside from treating fibromyalgia, hydrotherapy is also effective in treating several other illnessess. It can be used alongside with other physical therapy treatments such as massage, stretching and exercise, to help improve a patient’s condition. Hydrotherapy is particularly beneficial for people suffering from the following conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle and joint pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Effects of Hydrotherapy on Fibromyalgia
Hydrotherapy is particularly effective for fibromyalgia sufferers because it helps with pain, swelling and infection. Specifically, hydrotherapy helps fibromyalgia patients in:
- Reducing muscle pain
- Improving sleep disorders
- Increasing mobility
- Reducing stiffness
Various studies have been conducted regarding the effects of hydrotherapy on fibromyalgia. In one study, patients had to undergo therapeutic whirlpool bath at least twice in a week for a period of 6 weeks. At the end of the study, participants showed improved joint and muscle functions. Furthermore, they also experienced an improvement in their sleep quality and significant reduction of pain.
How to Use Hydrotherapy On Yourself to Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain?
There are many ways you can apply hydrotherapy at home. Hence, you do not necessary need to approach a hydrotherapist; although they will usually use proper massage techniques to condition your muscles in a professional settings such as warm pool. Here are some forms of basic hydrotherapy you can do at home:
- Baths – as mentioned, one of the easiest way to enjoy hydrotherapy is simply to draw a warm bath for yourself and soak in it for 15-20 minutes.. It helps relieve pain, stiffness and tension and also induce relaxation. You can also add your favorite essential oil to your bath. If you do not have the luxury of a bath tub, you can make do with a nice warm shower. Stand under the shower head with water directed to the back of your neck for 5-10 minutes.
- Compresses – hot, cold or tepid compresses can be applied to pain areas to help relieve pain and improve circulation. Dampen a towel with the preferred water and apply it on affected pain areas. Make sure that the towel is not dripping wet, squeeze it dry if needed.
- Icing – this type of hydrotherapy is not popular with most fibromyalgia patients as most do tolerate cold well. If you do, it works well with reducing pain, inflammation and swelling. Wrap ice cubes or a ice bag with a towel and apply it on affect pain areas.