Aqua therapy is perhaps the oldest technique of treating the ailments. This form of therapy involves the use of water for comforting pains and treating diseases. The active agent in the treatment of ailments actually being heat and cold and water plays the role of carrier only.
The use of aqua therapy has been found in many ancient civilizations. Egyptians used to take baths with essential oils and flowers, while Romans had shared public baths for their citizens. Hot water springs can improve health by increasing circulation of the body is a long accepted fact. Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for cure. A Dominican monk, Sebastian Kneipp, again revived aqua therapy during the 19th century. Currently, aqua therapy is being used to treat arthritis, burns, spasticity, ankylosing spondylitis, musculoskeletal disorders, spinal cord injuries and stroke patients with paralysis.
Heat and cold treatments are applied through Packings, hot and cold, general and local, sweating and cooling; hot air and steam baths; general baths, of hot water and cold water; sitz, spinal, head and foot baths; bandages – wet and dry; also fomentations and poultices, hot and cold, sinapisms, stupes, rubbings and hot and cold water potations.
The full packing consists of a wet sheet enveloping the body, with several dry blankets packed tightly over it. In an hour or less packings are removed and a general bath administered. The pack is a derivative, sedative, sweat generative and stimulator of cutaneous secretion. There are also local packs for trunk, limbs or head. Hot air baths or saunas, where exposure is provided from twenty minutes up to two hours according to the effect sought, and afterwards followed by a general bath. It establishes the blood to the body surface, reducing internal congestions, is a potent diaphoretic, and, through the extremes of heat and cold, is an effective nervous and vascular stimulant and tonic. Morbid growths and secretions, as also the uraemic, gouty and rheumatic diathesis, are beneficially influenced by it. General baths includes the rain, spray, shower, shallow and plunge, douche, wave and common morning sponge baths. Local baths includes the sitz, douche, spinal, foot and head baths of hot or cold water, singly or in combination, successive or alternate. The application of cold by Leiters tubes is effective for reducing inflammation. Compresses are of two kinds-cooling, of wet material left exposed for evaporation, used in local inflammations and fevers; and heating, of the same, covered with waterproof material, used for short or long periods. Poultices, warm, of bread, linseed, bran are identical in action with the heating bandage.
The warm water decreases pain, muscle guarding, tension and anxiety. The unique characteristics of water include resilience, support and accepting resistance. This uniqueness augments work out and causes a safe environment for progressive therapy. Aqua therapy is Beneficial for Patients Recovering from sports and work related injuries which require rapid rehabilitation, lower end fractures with internal fixation, rheumatic disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia, lumbar strain, sciatic and degenerative disc disease, post-operative lumbar laminectomy and osteotomy patients etc.
There are many Reasons to use Aqua therapy as it offers Buoyancy, Reduces pain & muscle spasms, increases range of motion, increases repose, increases circulation in the body and affected area, decreases swelling, reduces healing time, improves cardiovascular conditioning, allows freedom of mobility to patients.
Aqua therapy is the best alternative for certain types of patients who cannot withstand other types of physical therapies; aqua therapy can provide distinct advantages. Aqua therapy motivates individuals to choose swimming or water exercise as a lifetime sport for maintaining general health and fitness. Often traditional physical therapy is delayed because patients cannot tolerate weight-bearing activities. The use of aqua therapy enables the therapist to activate their patient’s activities of daily living in the shortest time period possible. Use of aqua therapy as a high velocity work out can help build muscle endurance and strength, cardiovascular health, coordination and endurance. Resistance of water is 5 to 45 times greater than resistance of air, depending on the speed of movement. This fact offer water as a natural and immediately adaptable weigh training mechanism. The unique properties of water enable heart to work more efficiently. Thus, maintaining a lower blood pressure and better circulation of blood.