Hydrotherapy comes from the Greek words hudor which means water, and
therapeutikos which means to take care of, the use of water for
therapeutic or healing purposes originated aeons before the age of
classical Greece. Baths and remedies are mentioned in the Sanskrit as
early as 4000 B.C., and the Babylonians, Cretans and Egyptians preceded
the Romans' preoccupation with water for drinking, bathing and its
not until the early nineteenth century however, that hydropathy as a
formal system came into vogue in Europe under the leadership of Vincent
Priessnitz (1801-1852) a Salesian farmer, and Father Sebastian Kneipp
(1821-1897), a German priest who claimed to have cured himself of
tuberculosis by regularly plunging into the cold waters of the River
America, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (1855-1946), did much to promote
hydrotherapy, opening a sanitarium in Battle Creek,Michigan in 1876,
where he used hydrotherapy, diet and other drugless therapies.
health spas featuring mineral water baths are popular with people
seeking cures for various ailments, and jacuzzis are becoming a status
symbol in many modem homes.
therapeutic uses of water have many applications varying from drinking
to flushing out the system, and from exercise through swimming to
relaxing in a hot bath. Hot springs where the water has a high mineral
content are thought to be beneficial, and generally speaking, warm
water promotes circulation and cold water is helpful in reducing
swelling and pain.
baths, cold showers, soaking in mineral springs, swimming and drinking
are the principal applications.
spa waters are known to contain minerals such as sodium, calcium and
zinc among others which can help compensate for body deficiencies.
and rehabilitation centres often use therapeutic pools. The buoyancy
makes it easier for patients to exercise and so strengthen atrophied
muscles after long periods of inactivity following accidents or major
many of these treatments can be a pleasant experience, particularly
from the relaxation point of view, they may not address a specific
Reports. 1978. Health spas: svelte for sale. August 1978.
Vierville, Paul. 1991. Hydrotherapy: Washes, Wraps, Packs and Herbs.
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