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HYDROTHERAPY 

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a form of healing that uses the unique properties of water (such as buoyancy, gentle pressure, and heat transfer) in a therapeutic way that rejuvenates and strengthens the body.

Humans have a special affinity for water. Our bodies are mostly made up of fluid, from our cells to our organs and muscles. By virtue of this, energy, in the form of heat or pressure, readily transmits through water to our bodies. This makes water therapy almost unparalleled as a means of bringing the body back into equilibrium. 

Hydrotherapy can be used to treat a wide range of physical symptoms: arthritis, joint pain, muscle pain, physical therapy, and those associated with pregnancy, among others. Moreover, water can be profoundly healing on an emotional level; for many people, water treatments are deeply soothing in a way that transcends their physical benefits.

Hydrotherapy goes beyond a nice bath, a fun splash in the pool, or swimming laps. While these are all enjoyable activities on their own, hydrotherapy provides a focused and structured approach that maximizes the benefits of being in water. It’s uniquely suited to a state-of-the-art wellness spa with facilities that are specially designed to accommodate this type of therapy.

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Hydrotherapy Techniques and Treatments

Many different therapies have been developed over centuries to take advantage of water’s unique healing qualities. Defining what is and is not “hydrotherapy” can be complicated: hydrotherapy includes everything from more intensive modalities, such as water-assisted physical therapy, to more general applications like steam rooms. Generally, hydrotherapy can refer to any therapeutic (as opposed to recreational or athletic) use of water for support, resistance, heating, and cooling.

Individual hydrotherapy treatments can also be combined into immersion circuits, which enhance the benefits of each treatment by activating the body’s response to contrasting temperatures. Immersion circuits integrate a heat component, a cold component, and a rest component. Understanding the distinctions between these different approaches can help wellness practitioners find a path that specifically suits their needs.

 

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Traditional Sauna

The dry heat in the sauna opens the pores, aids in detoxification, promotes relaxation, and increases circulation and warmth in the muscles. Taking a sauna is a great therapy before and after a massage or body treatment.

Steps for a therapeutic sauna:

Hydrate before, during, and after.

Heat: Stay in the sauna for 10-15 minutes, or until you can feel beads of perspiration forming on your chest.

You may want to ladle water onto the hot rocks and create a steam to enhance the experience or if the air feels too dry in the sauna. 

Cold: Leave the sauna and enter directly into the cooling experience—either a cold (or cool) shower or cold plunge. If you choose a shower, making sure to get your head and face under the cold water to heighten the experience and prevent headaches, which can sometimes happen with excessive heat. Be sure to include your hands and feet as well, as these areas have plentiful lymphatic tissue.

Rest for 15-20 minutes; allow your body temperature to equalize, and enjoy the flow of endorphins created by the experience.

Repeat if desired. 

These three steps can be repeated up to three times, provided you are feeling well and staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Steam Room

The moist heat in a steam room opens pores in the skin, penetrates the joints, and cleanses the respiratory pathways. A deeply relaxing experience, a steam room is particularly beneficial for those who have dry skin or wish to address joint pain. A steam room encourages deep breathing, and is a great place to sink into presence with yourself. Self-massage, meditation, and breath awareness are all perfectly supported by the expansive feeling of the warmth and steam. 

Steps for a therapeutic steam:

Hydrate before, during, and after.

Heat: Stay in the steam room for about 15 minutes, no more than 20 minutes. You may want to begin on the lower seating level and progress to the upper level once you are used to the heat. 

Cold: Leave the steam room and enter directly into the cooling experience—either a cold (or cool) shower, or cold plunge. If you choose a shower, turn the water as cold as you can stand. Make sure to get your head and face     under the cold water to enhance the experience and prevent headaches, which can sometimes happen with excessive heat. Be sure to include your hands and feet as well, as these areas have plentiful lymphatic tissue.

Rest for 15-20 minutes; allow your body temperature to equalize, and enjoy the flow of endorphins created by the experience.

Repeat if desired.

Contrast Bathing

Hot and cold baths are an ancient form of healing, likely beginning when humans made the happy discovery of their first natural hot spring. This is a rigorous approach that might not suit every practitioner. When in doubt, start gradually; ease into the experience with more moderate temperatures and less submersion before (literally) taking the full plunge. 

Steps for a therapeutic contrast bath:

Hydrate before, during, and after.

Heat: Stay in the hot pool for about 15 minutes. You may want to begin in the warm pool and progress to the hot pool once you are used to the heat. Feel free to float, move your body, and stretch as you luxuriate in the warmth. 

Cold: Leave the hot pool and enter directly into the cooling experience—either a cold (or cool) shower, or cold plunge. The cold plunge is for just a few seconds, in and out—but be sure to go underwater.  If you choose a shower, turn the water as cold as you can stand. Make sure to get your head and face under the cold water to enhance the experience and prevent headaches, which can sometimes happen with excessive heat. Be sure to include your hands and feet as well, as these areas have plentiful lymphatic tissue.

Rest for 15-20 minutes in one of our tranquility rooms, in the locker room or outside on the property, allowing your body temperature to equalize and enjoying the flow of endorphins created by the experience.

Repeat if desired.

Warm Soak

A warm soak is a perfect tool for a gentle hydrotherapy experience. Great for those who are very sensitive to temperature changes, it’s an excellent way to introduce yourself to the healing world of hydrotherapy. During pregnancy, exposure to high heat and dramatic temperature fluctuations are best avoided, so we recommend this circuit for all our pregnant guests. In addition, we advise anyone with cardiovascular or neurological issues to engage in this gentle circuit (although if you have such a diagnosis, please do consult with your physician before doing hydrotherapy). 

Hydrate before, during, and after.

Heat: Enjoy the warm pool for 15-20 minutes, allowing your body to unwind and your relaxation response to engage. 

Cold: Leave the pool and head right to the showers, taking a lukewarm rinse. Make sure to get your head and face under the water. Include your hands and feet as well, as these areas have plentiful lymphatic tissue.

Rest for 15-20 minutes; allow your body temperature to equalize, and enjoy the flow of endorphins created by the experience.