Simple therapies to try at home

Simple therapies to try at home

The use of water for healing purposes has been used for centuries, there are even references of therapeutic use of mineral water in the Old Testament.  Many European countries have used public bathhouses and hot springs as sources for achieving well being through out history.  Father Sebastian Kneipp, a 19th century Bavarian monk had a strong and direct influence upon the development of hydrotherapy and naturopathy with his book, My Water Cure, and by healing many people including himself.  He advocated walking barefoot in the wet or dewy grass to promote circulation in the body.

With the application of modern science, we now see that alternating hot and cold-water treatments can have very beneficial effects on the body.  These effects include improvement in digestion and assimilation of nutrients, elimination of toxins via the kidneys and colon, an increased number of white blood cells in the immune system, along with a number of other beneficial affects. Below you will find a list of common “home hydrotherapy” treatments.  Please consult your doctor before trying any of these treatments.

Cold Shower
Simply turn the shower to cold for at least 30 sec. at the end and even longer if you can.  Make sure to always end on cold.  It sounds like you will be freezing after the shower, right?  Actually, the short burst of cold water fools your body into thinking that you are going to be in a cold environment and the body starts to warm from the inside out; therefore we see an increase in blood circulation.

Warming Socks Treatment
Right before bedtime, soak a pair of cotton socks in cold water, then wring them out (they should be damp not wet) and place on your feet. Then cover the wet socks with heavy wool socks making sure that none of the wet sock is exposed.  Go to bed.    You can also do a hot footbath before this treatment if you are feeling chilly.  The body will warm up the socks as you sleep.  You should never be cold or chilled during the night. This promotes immune function and circulation.

Salt Glow
Do this treatment before a shower.  Depending on how much of the body you would like to do, obtain a bowl of Epsom salts or table salt.  Mix in enough water to get a sticky consistency.  Place feet in a hot foot bath, or the bathtub, and gently scrub the salt on the skin starting with the fingers and arms, then toes to legs.  Next do the chest and abdomen.  Rub the skin while rinsing in the shower and dry with constant friction.  Rest for 30 min. after this treatment.

These treatments are safe and gentle enough to use at home.  Please consult your physician before doing any of these treatments to make sure it is something that would benefit you.  There are many other more extensive treatments available at Naturopathic clinics such as constitutional hydrotherapy, hot fomentation, and colonic hydrotherapy, which have more profound effects at helping the body heal.

Heather Wickett

NWNM Medical Intern

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