What is Hydrotheraphy?
In the early days, spas originated around healing waters–aka hydrotherapy, the use of water in its many forms to relax and soothe pain. It may have been practiced for hundreds, indeed thousands of years, but the word “hydrotherapy” was coined in 1876. It is derived from hydro, the Greek word for water, and therapeuo, which means to heal, treat or cure.
Hydrotherapy can help children and adults who are liable to lose strength and muscle bulk because of their inability to move independently. Thanks to the weightlessness of the water, they are able to stand upright and walk by themselves during therapy sessions. This provides freedom of movement and a wide range of health benefits.
What are the benefits?
Not only is hydrotherapy relaxing, it can also be fun, especially for children. More importantly, it helps build the strength, movement, and balance of weak muscle groups. This improves both fitness and general mobility.
Further, it improves posture, reduces muscle tension and relieves pain. The weightlessness a person feels in the water does not only relieve tension in the limbs, it also supports aching muscles and ease the movement. In many ways, hydrotherapy acts as a natural pain reliever, because it stimulates the release of endorphins, which in turn help to alleviate tension and control pain (source).
The slow movements and relaxing exercises reduce stress, thus helping to reduce high blood pressure, which can be caused by stress. According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, they also reduce muscle spasm, which allows for even greater relaxation (source).
Other benefits include improved coordination and balance, increased metabolic rate and digestion activity, as well as decreased swelling-pain.