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Hydrotherapy: A traditional secret. Reap the benefits!

By Anita Kappukatt, ND

Back when I was waiting tables, I would come home after a 7 hour shift (no breaks because I didn’t smoke), and feel exhausted. My poor feet! They felt heavy and achy.  After taking a course in hydrotherapy, I was forced to try out a few treatments myself for credit.  I was a person who was always cold, and hated being cold. So naturally, the thought of cold water treatments made me very squeamish! I tried my best with the simplest treatment of all: Cold Water Treading. To my surprise, my fatigue and achey feet symptoms were reduced by at least 40%. My mood also improved immediately after the treatment. And it only took A FEW MINUTES.  This is my kind of traditional treatment for modern life!

 

THE TREATMENT:

Here it is: Fill your bathtub (or largish container) with cold water to just above your ankles.  Carefully get in the tub and hold on to something. March in place for 5 seconds to 3 minutes.  You could even sit at the edge of your tub if you are nervous about slipping.  The water should be about 10 degrees Celsius.  When you’re done, walk on a towel or rub down your feet vigorously with a towel to dry them.  That’s it. Try to last as long as you can!

Honestly, I could only last 3 seconds! I would hop out when it hurt too much. Then regroup, and hop back in the tub to try another round.  After 3 sets of this, I got out and rubbed my tootsies down. I felt immediately happy. Placebo effect? I didn’t care. I went to my death shift, and when I got back, my tired-achy feet symptoms were at least 40% better than yesterday, when I hadn’t done the treatment.

I tried it on different occasions, and I got similar results.  Traditionally, the treatment is called MORNING DEW WALKING.  If you have access to an untreated lawn, you go out first thing in the morning and walk barefoot through the dew-covered grass for one or two minutes.  Dry your feet by walking on a deck or patio, or do the towel rub down.  Instant wake-up call!

Let me know if you try it out!

 

THE BENEFITS:

Both of these hydrotherapy techniques are very energizing and stimulating to your system.  The cold water pushes blood and lymphatic fluid deeper in your bodies, towards your organ systems.  If you’re generally sedentary, getting your blood and lymph system moving is what you want to do.  Your lymph fluid only moves passively through your vessels, as a result of skeletal muscle movements (hello moderate exercise).  It is involved in collecting metabolic waste and immune cells from your blood circulation.  Stimulating your blood and lymph can benefit your immune system and energy levels!

 

WHAT IS HYDROTHERAPY?

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to apply hot and cold to the body to get different results.  It is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment and experienced a revival in the 19th century with pioneers such as Sebastian Kneipp and Vincent Priessnitz. It can include a wide range of therapies such as: ice packs to reduce acute inflammation, stimulating contrast showers, wet sheet packs, and detoxifying peat baths.  Some of these therapies can be taught to do in the comfort of your home and are very cost-effective.

Cautions: Do not use Cold Water Treading or Morning Dew Walking if you have arthritis in your toes/ankles, sciatica, cystitis, pelvic inflammation, or an irritable bowel. If you have an questions or concerns before trying this technique, please consult a knowledgeable health care provider.