24 August 2015
Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Dating back to ancient times, humans have used the healing powers of water to treat physical problems and emotional distress - this practice is known as hydrotherapy. It is said that Roman Emperor Augustus was cured from a range of afflictions after his physician instructed him to take cold baths on a regular basis. There are recordings of both the ancient Egyptians and Greeks utilising the healing powers of water too.
The concept of hydrotherapy is simple - water is used to rid the human body of toxins which are thought to be a leading cause of illnesses. By stimulating touch receptors in the body, water helps to alleviate muscle strain and promote the release of endorphins, leading to both physical and mental wellbeing. Hydrotherapy has been known to cure and alleviate the symptoms of a range of ailments, including:
- Respiratory problems
- Circulatory problems
- Sleeping disorders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Muscle pain
- Injured joints
- Headaches and fevers
- Skin complaints
- High blood pressure
While our ancient ancestors were aware of the healing power of water, thanks to modern day technology, hydrotherapy procedures have become very sophisticated. Nowadays, both commercial and private bespoke hydrotherapy pools can be designed so that even those with serious physical health problems can enjoy the therapeutic benefits of water. Usually, hydrotherapy pools have sturdy handrails to ensure safe entry into the pool. Hydrotherapy pools can also be fitted with vertical wheelchair lifts for the less able-bodied, if a ramp is not appropriate.
Unlike regular swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools are kept significantly warmer, which would not be suitable for boisterous swimming. Weightlessly floating in warm water is relaxing, but the increased temperature also helps to reduce muscle pain and stiffness. Hydrotherapy pools are shallower - this allows a person with restricted movement to float carelessly without any worries about the depth.
One of the most popular hydrotherapy technologies is the pressure jet. By targeting soothing jets of water at a particular part of the body, this acts as a low-intensity massage, relieving aches and pains while also promoting emotional wellbeing. Another feature which is becoming increasingly popular in hydrotherapy pools is a moving floor which can be adjusted to different levels to change the depth of the water to allow people of different heights (ie adults, children) to receive the treatment needed.
Hydrotherapy pools may also be fitted with an underwater treadmill, which is an excellent rehabilitation tool that allows the simulation of walking but without the same impact that body weight and land-movement would have on the muscles and joints. With variable resistance, underwater treadmills are used for rehabilitation purposes and as a tool to help athletes improve their physical conditioning.
On commercial pools, it is possible to integrate the hydrotherapy pool with a computer system to capture the physical data from patients/clients. This provides empirical data which can be used to determine the efficacy of the treatments. Camera systems are also a common feature of hydrotherapy pools, primarily as a safety measure.
Commercial applications often include a Jacuzzi, sauna or steam room to accompany the hydrotherapy pool. This provides an area where people can lie back and relax after undergoing their hydrotherapy treatment, providing a pleasant conclusion to their experience.
Contact us if you need advice on designing and building a hydrotherapy pool at home, at a leisure centre or medical facility.