The external use of water as a healing therapy has been employed for many centuries in almost every culture in the treatment of a multitude of ailments. It is undoubtedly one of our most powerful therapies in the treatment of both chronic and acute disease of almost any kind. Blood makes up approximately 1/12 of the total body weight and lymph fluid makes up approximately 1/3 of the total body weight. This is where hydrotherapy does its work – on the blood and lymph. These circulating fluids carry nutrients to the vital tissues and carry the toxic by-products away to the organs of elimination. In effecting changes in the blood, we effect changes in all the tissues that it nourishes and cleanses. The sequential alternation of hot and cold water applications to the skin surface produces a host of beneficial physiological effects to the peripheral and core tissues, including increased in oxygen absorption, increased carbon dioxide and other metabolic waste excretion, increased white blood cell count (immune enhancement), increased red blood cell count and increased metabolism. To achieve the best therapeutic results of contrast hydrotherapy, the following simple home shower treatment should be done daily.
The severity of temperature contrast will enhance the effects of treatment. For example, an application of 110o F followed by 60o F will elicit a stronger therapeutic effect than an application of 95o F followed by 75o F. However, any amount of contrast will still provide significant health benefits. The sequence may be repeated several times in 3-5 minute intervals throughout the duration of the shower to strengthen the effect of the treatment, always ending on cold. At the very least, end each shower with the following procedure:
Ensure you have been in a hot shower for up to 3 minutes with full body immersion. Aim the shower stream at your left foot and gradually guide the stream up your leg to your hip, ensuring both the front and back of the leg are covered equally. Repeat this procedure with the right leg. Next, aim the shower stream at your left arm and gradually guide the stream up your arm to your shoulder, then repeat with the right arm. Next, aim the shower stream at your navel and slowly rotate in a circle, allowing your sides and back to be immersed. This rotation can be repeated 2-4 times, while gradually bringing the shower stream up to your neck/upper back. Finally, end by immersing entire head in shower stream for several seconds. The entire procedure should take a minimum of 30 seconds and a maximum of 60 seconds. Focus on taking deep breaths into your belly throughout this procedure-it will make the experience more pleasurable and provide greater health benefit. Ideally, these treatments will be done before meals and allow time and space for a rest period following each treatment.