Have you ever thought of the efficiency of water in the treatment of diseases? Water has been used as a potent therapeutic agent since time immemorial.
You will be surprised to know that the therapeutic value of water has been proven successful in the treatment of almost every known disease.
Bathing is considered necessary for the maintenance of hygiene. But the various therapeutic bath methods provide you with measures to fight any diseases. Therapeutic baths are the internal or external use of water for medical treatment
Therapeutic baths are the internal or external use of water for medical care. We will brief you about various therapeutic baths with their benefits.
1. Hip Baths
In this method, you are made to sit in a particular kind of tub filled with water such that it covers the hips and reaches up to the navel.
A.Cold Hip Bath
- Water temperature: 10C to 18C
- Duration of bath: Normally 10 min but may vary from 1 min to 30 min in specific conditions
- Here, you need to rub the abdomen briskly from the navel downwards and across with a moderately coarse wet cloth.
- After the bath, you can have body warming exercises.
Benefits: Relieves constipation, indigestion, obesity, helps eliminative organs to function properly, helps in the treatment of uterine problems.
B. Hot Hip Bath
- Here you have to start the bath at 40C and gradually increase to 45C.
- Duration of bath: 8-10 min.
Benefits: Relieves painful menstruation, pain in pelvic organs, painful urination, inflamed rectum or bladder and painful piles, benefits enlarged prostatic gland, neuralgia of the ovaries and bladder.
C. Neutral Hip Bath
- Water temperature: 32 C to 36 C.
- Duration of a bath- 20 min to 1hr.
Benefits: Relieves all acute and sub-acute inflammatory conditions relieves neuralgia, used in the treatment of erotomania in both sexes.
Alternate Hip Bath (Revulsive Hip Bath)
- Here you need to sit for 5 min in the hot water tub and 3 min in the water cold tub.
- You should end the treatment with a dash of cold water on the hips.
Benefits: Relieves chronic inflammatory conditions of the Pelvic Viscera.
2. Spinal Bath
- You have to take this bath in a specially designed tub with its back raised to place the head.
- Water level: 1.5-2 inches.
- Duration of bath: 3-10 min.
Benefits: Cold Spinal Bath – relieves irritation, fatigue, hypertension, excitement and all nervous disorders. Neutral Spinal Bath –treats insomnia, reduces the tension of the vertebral column.
HOT SPINAL BATH – stimulates the nervous, relieves vertebral pain in Spondylitis and muscular backache relieves sciatic pain and gastrointestinal disorders.
3. Immersion Bath (Full Bath)
- It is a full body bath where you use a bathtub properly fitted with hot and cold water connections.
a. Cold Immersion Bath
- Water temperature -10C to 23.8OC.
- Duration of the bath- 4sec to 20 min.
- Cover your head with a cold, moist towel and pour cold water on the head, chest, neck before entering the tub.
- During the bath rub your body.
Benefits: Brings down fever improves skin.
b. Graduated Bath
- Water temperature: 310C. Gradually lower the temperature at 1oC per min until it reaches 25oC.
- Continue the bath till you start to shiver.
Benefits: Brings down fever (except malaria) when administered every 3 hours, produces a general tonic effect.
c. Neutral Immersion Bath
- Water temperature-20C to 28C.
- Duration of the bath- 15-60 min can be even longer.
Benefits: Diminishes the pulse rate improves skin and kidneys’ activities, helping to treat organic diseases of the brain and spinal cord, help patients of multiple neuritides, alcoholism, chronic diarrhea, peritonitis and abdominal problems, useful in the toxemic conditions caused by Dyspepsia and Pruritus.
d. Hot Immersion Bath
- Water temperature-36C to 40C. You have to start the bath at 37C and then gradually raise the temperature by adding hot water.
- Terminate the bath as soon as the skin becomes red.
Benefits: Compensates the loss of tone of the heart and blood, relieves capillary bronchitis and bronchial pneumonia in children, reduces lung congestion, activates blood vessels of skin muscles, helpful in cases of pneumonia, suspended menstruation, immediate relief from mucous membrane congestion, treatment of obesity, relief from pain due to stones in gall bladder and kidney.
4. Epsom Salt Bath
- Here’s what you need to do is just add 1 to 1.5 kg of Epsom salt to the hot water (about 135 liters) present in the immersion bath tub.
Benefits: Useful in cases of Sciatica, Lumbago, Rheumatism, Diabetes, Neuritis, Cold and Catarrh, Kidney Disorders and Other uric acid and skin affections.
5. Cold Compress
- All that you need to do here is take a cloth which has been wrung out in cold water or ice water and applies it to the head, neck, abdomen and back.
Benefits: Controls inflammatory conditions of the liver, spleen, stomach, kidneys, intestines, lungs, brain, pelvic organs, etc., helpful in cases of fever and heart diseases and soothes inflammation of the skin and external portions of the eyes.
6. Heating Compress
- In this method, we use 3-4 folds of linen cloth wrung out in cold water, which is then covered with dry flannel or blanket.
- After application of heating compress, the area should be rubbed with a wet cloth and then dried.
Benefits: Is applied to throat, chest, abdomen and joints to provide relief.
7. Hot Foot Bath
- In this method, you simply have to place your legs in a tub or bucket filled with hot water at a temperature of 40C to 45C.
- You need to take a cold shower immediately after the bath.
Benefits: Stimulates involuntary muscles of the pelvic and abdominal organs, relieves sprains, ankle joint pains, headaches, in women it restores suspended menstruation.
a. Cold Foot Bath
- Water level: 3-4 inches.
- Water temperature-7.2oC to 12.7oC.
- You have just to immerse your feet in the water placed in a small tub or bucket for 1-5 min.
- Apply friction continuously to the feet during the bath.
Benefits: Relieves cerebral congestion, uterine hemorrhage, treats sprains, strains and inflamed bunions.
8. Full Wet Sheet Pack
- Here your whole body is wrapped in a wet sheet, which is in turn wrapped in a dry blanket.
Benefits: Useful in a case of typhoid fever continued fever, beneficial for insomnia, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, relieves chronic cold, bronchitis, helps in the treatment of rheumatism and obesity.
9. Steam Bath
- You are made to sit on a stool in a specially designed cabinet for 10-20 min or until perspiration takes place.
Benefits: Improves the skin, improves blood circulation and tissue activity, relieves rheumatism, gout, uric acid problems, and obesity, relieves neuralgia, chronic nephritis, infections, tetanus and migraine, helpful in all forms of chronic toxemias.
10. Enema (Rectal Irrigation)
- In this method, we inject a fluid (lukewarm water, 1-2 liters) into the rectum through an enema nozzle which is inserted into the rectum, is slowly raised and then water is allowed to enter the rectum.
- After 5-10 min, we can eject the water along with the accumulated morbid matter.
Benefits: Warm water enema cleans the rectum of accumulated fecal matter, cleanse the bowels and also improves its peristaltic movement and thereby relieves constipation.
Relieves irritation due to inflammation of the rectum and painful hemorrhoids and helps women in leucorrhoea. The cold water enema relieves irritation due to inflammation of the colon.
1) While using the methods involving hot water or steam, cover your head with a cold compress and drink 1-2 glasses of water before taking the bath.
2) Avoid full baths within three hours after a meal and one hour before it. You may, however, take local baths like the hip bath and foot bath may take two hours after a meal.
3) Use clean and pure water for baths and do not use the same water again.
4) While taking baths, strictly observe temperature and duration to obtain the desired effects.
5) You should always use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the body.
6) Women should avoid any of the baths during menstruation. Pregnant women can take only hip baths till the completion of the third month.