Most people associate hydrotherapy with warm, relaxing whirlpool tubs. When I was a student in naturopathic college, I was looking forward to that course. Alas, our hydrotherapy classroom and clinic had no whirlpool tubs. In fact, there were no bath tubs at all! I quickly learned that the naturopathic style of hydrotherapy was far different. This tradition of hydrotherapy emerged from the historic European "Water Cure" movement. Imagine a time when the drugs of today didn't exist and when applications of water were used to help heal life threatening diseases such as TB and diabetes.
Naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy is the alternating application of hot and cold towels over the chest, abdomen and back. It promotes healthy circulation and helps to reset the autonomic nervous system when our body is stuck in overdrive with stress. The most supportive part of this therapy is not the warm towel, but the application of a cold towel.
Typically, constitutional hydrotherapy is delivered as a series of sessions provided over several weeks. Naturopathic health care providers continue to provide this service today to help address some of the chronic diseases of our time. It is one of our most important tools in supporting the body to heal.
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