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Hydrotherapy – What is It?

Hydrotherapy uses a combination of water and air to soothe aching bodies, speed the recovery of muscular ailments and promote wellbeing. Water therapy, or hydrotherapy, has long been helping to ease the pain of health issues such as muscular conditions and rheumatic diseases.

The Nature of Water Therapy: How it Works

Water makes us buoyant, reducing our body weight by 90%. This, together with warmth, greatly eases stress on the body’s muscles and joints. That’s why hydrotherapy is often used in physiotherapy treatments to strengthen core muscles and improve stability.

Hydrotherapy healing is based on thermal effects. The body reacts to hot or cold stimuli. In water, our touch receptors are heightened and our nerves carry our responses to the stimuli deeper into our ‘internal’ body.

In warm water, the heat dilates our blood vessels improving blood to flow to sore or damaged tissue. Our muscles relax, our circulation improves and the weightlessness helps us lose the tension we’ve unconsciously been carrying around all day. In contrast, cold water stimulates your blood flow and is a wake up call! We are invigorated and refreshed by colder water that helps us cool down and freshen up after a sweaty work out; ready for an action packed day.

Motion based hydrotherapy such as hot tubs or whirlpool baths use heated water under pressure to physically deliver a massage effect to the body. The specific jet streams target body areas with water and air in a manner that kneads and presses the body rather like hands during a personal massage. When we are in pain or under stress, our blood pressure can increase. A hydrotherapy massages will calmly regulate blood flow and reduce muscle tightness produced by stress and anxiety.

From a targeted deep tissue massage to our relaxing micro bubbles, you’ll be able to feel the difference in a Jacuzzi bath or hot tub. The mix of air and water propelled through Jacuzzi hot tub jets relaxes your muscles and alleviates the pressure on your nerves. Our unique Jacuzzi jets deliver a wide variety of hydrotherapeutic massages that improve your circulation and promote the flow of endorphins.

The Nature of Water Therapy: How it Works

Massage alone is proven to reduce stress, calm anxiety, enhance sleep quality and improve concentration; as well as aiding in other physiotherapy and recovery programmes. Hydrotherapy massage is not an alternative for medical massage treatments, but it is easily carried out at home and can be used to support a healthy active lifestyle.

Hydrotherapy uses the natural properties of water and applied temperature and/or pressure to stimulate positive effects on the body such as increased blood circulation, muscle relaxation and waste elimination (detoxification). Applying heat is known to relax muscles and cause sweating, which releases toxins. Warm water is used in physiotherapy to speed recovery from injuries and relieve muscle soreness. You could consider heat to be the active agent in hydrotherapy and the water as a vehicle for application.

The main benefits of having a regular hydrotherapy massage at home are all about pampering yourself. It marks those moments when you get some peace and quiet, or those relaxing times you can enjoy with your family, catching up on the events of the day. Sitting in your Jacuzzi whirlpool bath or hot tub is a personal treat that makes you feel even more special because you’re enjoying a past time that’s good for your body. Make a hydrotherapy massage part of your day.

However you enjoy your hydrotherapy massage, you can relax knowing that you’re helping your body recover from the day. You may also benefit from some of the following too:

  • Pain relief
  • Better circulation and blood supply to internal organs
  • Boosting your immune system
  • A break from stress
  • A healthier complexion
  • Deeper sleep

The History of Hydrotherapy

For thousands of years, people have been drawn to water that naturally springs from the earth. Bathers enjoyed natural healing properties of hot springs that emerged as geothermal pools from under the earth’s crust.

Natural hot springs around the globe continue to be a popular tourist attraction and a reminder of how the ancient practice of bathing became part of our everyday. The international SPA association (ISPA) agrees that hydrotherapy has been used in European spas for a long time. Various forms have been recorded in European civilisations, including the Romans who built communal baths and the Egyptian royalty who chose to bathe with flowers. Hydrotherapy was rediscovered in the 18th and 19th Century and a factor in its revival was that since it is based on a natural substance, it was relatively cheap to practice at home.

In 1943 Kenneth Jacuzzi developed rheumatic fever, which left him with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. He was almost two years old. Recognising that monthly hydrotherapy sessions at hospital eased his son’s symptoms, lead Candido Jacuzzi, the youngest of the 7 brothers, to develop a new hydrotherapy product that would give Kenneth more regular treatment at home. Little did Candido realise that not only did the new idea help improve his son’s illness, but it also sparked a new luxury trend that would extend across the globe.

In 1954 he filed a patent for the J-300, a first submersible portable pump that could be used in a bathtub at home. The J-300 became a new commodity and hydrotherapy at home was an overnight success. Candido was issued a patent for the first whirlpool system designed for home use on 20th March 1956. From there, the Jacuzzi brothers continued to listen to their customers and in 1962 they developed the J-500 and J-600, two stand alone bathing units with exterior pump. The company launched the first ‘family spa’ in 1964 which held more people and featured wall mounted jets.

In 1969 Roy Jacuzzi, grandson of Guiseppe (4th brother in the original family) launched a new range of whirlpool baths named the Roman bath collection and from here; the growth in the new hydrotherapy industry began.

Hydrotherapy and Health

If you are considering using hydrotherapy massage to support a healthy lifestyle, it may interest you to know that there are a wide range of complaints caused by medical conditions that may be improved with regular hydrotherapy. These complaints may be the result of:

✔ Osteoarthritis*
✔ Rheumatoid arthritis*
✔ Ankylosing spondylitis – following surgery or a fracture*
The buoyancy of the water supports your body, making it easier to exercise your muscles and enjoy a hydro massage.
(*cited by Southend NHS University Hospital)

Hydrotherapy massage may not be appropriate in all lifestyle circumstances, or medical conditions. We recommend that you speak to your doctor if you have a medical condition and are planning on using hydrotherapy.

You should avoid hydrotherapy if you have:

✘ A virus
✘ An upset stomach
✘ Raised temperature
✘ High blood pressure
✘ Open wounds
✘ Skin infections
✘ Chest infections
✘ Heart problems
✘ Shortness of breath at rest
✘ Incontinence

Please note:

Hydrotherapy is not recommended if you are pregnant
Cold baths should not be used by children or the elderly
Sauna baths should not be used by people with heart conditions.