Hydrotherapy or hydropathy is the use of water for medical treatment. It is a form of alternative medicine. Ancient physicians from the Roman, Greek, and Egyptian civilizations made use of the palliative and curative properties of water to treat fevers, ulcers, hemorrhage, and to ease joint pain. Today medical practitioners use hydrotherapy to treat conditions such as arthritis, spondylitis, and injuries to the spinal cord. They make use of water as a part of physical therapy to deliver heat and cold to the body.
Cold baths are said to improve blood circulation. Steam baths have a cleansing effect on the skin. Other hydrotherapy treatments include neutral baths, flotation, hot and cold sprays, wrapping, etc.
One of the oldest systems of alternative medicine, hydrotherapy dwells on use of water to alleviate common ailments. Water has a fascinating role in hydrating and cleansing the body and balancing metabolism. Its remarkable property of removing toxins and bio-wastes from the body makes drinking large quantities of water a very important part of almost all ailment management plans. Even Hippocrates, the father of medicine admired the curative role of water and recommended it extensively for treatment of fever, hemorrhage, ulcers and a number of other conditions. Hydrotherapy comes with a vast array of treatment approaches like cold bath for improving blood circulation in high fevers, sitz bath for treating painful skin rupture in piles or fissures, steam bath for cleansing the skin and improving its ventilation by opening up the pores, hot and cold sprays, cold packs and wrapping for dealing with feverish conditions, respiratory tract infections, and back pains.