Hydrotherapy, the use of alternating hot and cold water, is one of the oldest and simplest methods to induce proper circulation to internal organs and tissues. This is a necessity for optimal metabolic function, tissue repair, and overall well being. There are dozens of specific hydrotherapy techniques valued by naturopathic doctors, with constitutional hydrotherapy being one of them.
Constitutional hydrotherapy is a specialized technique involving the alternating application of hot and cold wet towels. To enhance the circulatory effects, a mild electrical stimulation is applied over various muscle groups during the treatment. The alternation of hot and cold creates a pumping action for the blood and lymph systems, with addition of the low electrical stimulation to assist the lymphatic system. Researchers have found that a reflex increase in blood flow occurs in internal organs when the circulation to the overlying skin is stimulated. Research has further shown that the beneficial effects on the immune system last for up to 24 hours making this a very effective therapy for any disorder involving immune function. White blood cell counts increase within a few hours of having the treatment. Other studies have found that this technique can help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.
Old time naturopaths used this modality to stimulate the immune system and to promote strengthening the body’s ability to heal itself. The treatment is valuable for anyone wishing to stimulate the immune system, for acute infections like colds, flus, sinusitis, or pneumonia, or for chronic conditions from fatigue to bowel conditions to chronic pain. For the chronically ill, daily constitutional hydrotherapy could help immensely, with or without electrical stimulation. In more chronic conditions, your doctor may suggest from 1 to 4 treatments a week for up to several weeks. For acute conditions, just a few treatments may be recommended.