Hydrotherapy: Proven Benefits Throughout the Ages
Water has been used as a healing modality for body and mind since the dawn of civilization. Research and experiments on using water to promote healing and wellbeing can be traced back in history to circa 400 BC, when Hippocrates, ‘the father of medicine’ first endorsed and prescribed various water treatments.
Hydrotherapy is a traditional, safe and effective method of healing, which encompasses various treatments using water. These range from steam baths and sauna to shower jets, partial immersion baths, wraps, packs and compresses, as well as colon irrigation and enemas.
Basically any treatment involving water, including a water-drinking regime, can be called hydrotherapy. Thalassotherapy, on the other hand, is a form of hydrotherapy using seawater and algae for treatment.
Therapeutic Benefits of Hydrotherapy
The therapeutic benefits of hydrotherapy are due to the blood circulation-boosting action of water pressure, further enhanced by the thermal reactions of the body to the -hot and cold- water stimuli. It takes advantage of water’s unique ability to store and transmit both heat and cold.
Ice packs and cold compresses for instance, initially stimulate the heart and breathing rates, and increase blood pressure and muscle tone. A more prolonged exposure to cold has a calming effect. It decreases normal cell activity, constricts blood vessels, numbs nerves and slows down breathing. Conversely, heat-based hydrotherapies such as steam baths, sauna, hot compresses and whirlpools have a stimulating effect.
Natural cleansing and healing by means of hydrotherapy, hot and cold baths, friction, compresses and enemas has been widely practiced by monks, naturopaths, doctors and ordinary folk throughout history. Used regularly, these simple hygienic methods have proven helpful in preventing -even curing- illnesses, alleviating symptoms and maintaining overall optimal health.
Modern naturopathy, as we understand it today, was born in northern Europe in the 19th century. Its roots lie primarily in Germany, then populated with highly respected thinkers and philosophers.
A few prominent figures like Vincent Priessnitz, Father Sebastian Kneipp, Louis Kuhne -and some other less famous ones- were known as Nature Cure practitioners. They revived the concept of hydrotherapy, prescribing different types of water baths as a chief healing tool. Additionally, they introduced the notions of dietary balance, sunbathing and herbal concoctions combined with physical activity in a healthy exercise regimen.
The momentous publication by Father Kneipp of “My Water Cure” in 1882 pushed nature cure to the forefront, creating keen awareness of the concept of using water for healing a diseased body. Kneipp’s foremost book introduced hydrotherapy, herbal remedies, exercise, nutrition and spirituality. This acclaimed work was translated into 14 languages.
Through personal philosophy and experiments, each one of these great men developed and mastered a particular niche in natural healing. While some focused on water cures and natural diets others created various systems of manipulative treatment, magnetic healing, mental therapies and restorative physical exercises.
Detox Is Not A New Concept
Louis Kuhne, referred to by his peers as ‘A genius in the art of healing’, created a unique hydrotherapy panacea to successfully treat a wide spectrum of diseases. He devised and practiced the friction sitz bath for over three decades with amazing success stories of healing cases* where everything else had failed.
He created an establishment in Leipzig, Germany in 1883, where he cured a wide spectrum of various illnesses and diseases using one method. It consisted chiefly of frequent and regular steam baths, hip baths- and most particularly his famous friction sitz bath treatments- while simultaneously altering his patients’ diet to vegetarian.
The Detox Bath, is a revival of Louis Kuhne’s friction sitz bath and represents a safe and effective way to gently but regularly eliminate toxins and shed excess fat and surplus weight.
It consists in simply cooling down the groin area with cold water while maintaining the rest of the body warm. The powerful therapeutic benefits of this technique derive from the fact that:
It targets the groin area: One of the highest nerve-concentration areas in the body. Hence its positive effect on mood, sleep and energy.
The groin houses main arteries, and the technique greatly boosts blood circulation, elimination and digestion.
It directly stimulates the root chakra, which governs sexual energy and reproductive organs. It helps regulate the menstrual cycle, and has been used by Louis Kuhne to treat impotence. It is also beneficial for low libido and menopausal symptoms
It entails application of cold water, which boosts the metabolism and activates the brown fat that enables the body to shed the white fat, which otherwise deposits in various areas on the body, creating bulges.
M.K Gandhi, one of the greatest thinkers and humanitarians who ever lived was called the 'Mahatma' because of his wisdom and enlightenment. He was also a keen naturopath. He performed Kuhne's Detox Bath daily and has recommended it in his book "Key to Health"(available as a complimentary bonus when you purchase the Detox Bath ebook). In a correspondence to Nehru on January 17th, 1929, he endorses it saying:
"I utterly distrust doctors' reports, I strongly recommend Kuhne's bath and sun baths."
Recent Research on Cold Water Application
More recent research confirms this concept and demonstrates the benefits of using cold water or ice to trigger fat and toxin elimination. Dr Joseph Mercola, an online natural health expert, writes:
“Research suggests that calorie combustion in brown fat may be of significance for your metabolism, and brown fat is effectively activated by cold temperatures. In one recent study, men burned more calories and lost more white fat, the kind that causes obesity, when exposed to ice cold temperatures.”
For this exact same reason, ice cold showers are recommended for slimming. When exposed to cold temperatures, the body will burn fat and energy to reheat itself. Additionally, cold water activates the brown fat, which boosts the metabolism and burns white fat. As toxins are known to deposit in white fat cells, this action greatly boosts toxin elimination. Cold water sends the blood rushing from the skin inwards to feed the vital organs.
Overall Benefits of Ice/Cold Water Therapies:
- Circulation boosting
- Fat elimination
- Strengthening the immune system
- Metabolism and energy boosting
- Digestion enhancing
- Relaxing and sleep quality enhancing
- Maintaining skin and hair health
Caution: Ease yourself slowly into the ice cold showers habit to avoid shocking the system. Wash with hot/warm water at first and then slowly decrease the hot water until only the cold tap is on. Spend no more than a couple of minutes initially. Take your time to build tolerance, and avoid in case of heart issues. An easier and safer alternative might be to apply cold water on a single area of the body, as in the Detox Bath.
* Numerous case studies and testimonials are detailed in Kuhne's book: "Neo-Naturopathy: The Doctrine of the Unity of Diseases" available as a complimentary bonus (download) when you purchase a copy of Detox Bath.
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