Our bodies are made up of 60% water by weight, our brains 70%, our lungs 90%. Water is essential to life, we can live 3 weeks without food, and only 3 days without water. Water transports nutrients to our cells and moves the toxins out. Because of this importance, it should be no surprise that Hydrotherapy, or water therapy has been used for centuries as a form of healing and detoxifying. Water therapy is one of my favorite methods of cleansing because it’s easy, affordable, versatile and relaxing. I can adjust my treatments by varying the essential oils I use to suit my needs.
Traditional methods of healing with water date back to Ancient Rome, Greece, China & Japan. These cultures incorporated hydrotherapy in the form of steam, baths, suanas, wraps and body packs – an inspiration to many body treatments today. Hydrotherapy is not just about water, but also about temperature and the thermal effects on the body. Combinations of heat and cold treatments through water can stimulate immune function & production of hormones, invigorate circulation, stimulate digestion and encourage blood flow. Hydrotherapy capitalizes on the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. In particular:
Heat – slows organ activity, is good for stressed or tensed muscles, relieves anxiety
Cold – invigorates, stimulates, increases organ activity, increases alertness
There are many methods of using water for therapy. Consult with your doctor before undertaking hydrotherapy involving extreme temperature changes. Those with certain conditions should avoid extreme heat or long hot baths including pregnancy, diabetes, MS, low or high blood pressure, the elderly or young children. Cold applications should be avoided by those with Raynaud’s, bladder infection or sciatica.
Hot Sea Salt Bath – Helps draw toxins out of the body. This is best done when you can rest several hours afterwards, such as before bedtime. Mix together 1-2 cups Celtic Sea Salt with 3-4 drops Therapeutic, Food Grade Lavender essential oil. Add to hot bath water. Soak 20-30 minutes, rinse off with cool water if desired. Drink plenty of pure water in the days following.
Cold Foot Bath – Boosts immune system and increases circulation. Helpful at the onset of a cold. Fill foot bath with cool water and allow feet to soak until the water no longer feels cold. Add 1-2 drops of peppermint essential oil to increase the cooling effects. Massage frankincense/spruce essential oil onto the soles of the feet after and put on cotton socks.
Steam Inhalation – excellent for breaking up mucous and opening up the respiratory tract. Fill a ceramic bowl (plastics will release toxins with heat)with hot water, hold face over steam – not too close to irritate skin – and breathe deeply. This method is even more effective when used with therapeutic grade essential oils. If using oils for inhalation, the water only needs to be warm, boiling water will actually change the chemical structure of the oils. Eucalyptus, rosemary, myrtle, thyme and ravansara single oils are supportive of the respiratory tract. Eucalyptus Blend. , Wintergreen Ravensara blend, Immune Boosting Blend and Purifying blend are powerful anti-bacterial combinations that could be used in steam inhalation as well. 1 drop is potent enough for this technique.
Hot Compress – use to relieve muscle tension, break up mucous or increase blood and lymph flow. This method is used in the Raindrop application of oils which is an excellent method of detoxifying the body. Apply a drop or two of essential oil of your choice to enhance the effects. Take a comfortably warm or hot wet cloth and apply on location. Cover with a dry towel and hold in place until cloth cools.
Cold Rubbings – increase circulation and blood flow, stimulates the immune system and breaks up stagnant toxins. Take a wet, cold washcloth and rub vigorously starting at the feet and working your way towards the heart.
All of these methods can be enhanced with the application of essential oils and by alternating applications that are hot & cold. Watch for my next article where I will target a specific storage point of toxins: Cellulite! No Match For Essential Oils. As with all my articles, this information is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disease and requires the use of common sense.