BACK PAIN, HEADACHES OR STRESSED LIFESTYLE?
HYDROTHERAPY COULD BE YOUR ANSWER
You are not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer back pain, and it is almost a pre-requisite of modern society to be living a stressed lifestyle. Stiff necks, chronic headaches and various joint and muscle problems are common.
WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOU?
When we have an injury, or we overwork muscles that haven’t been used enough, or if we suffer from poor posture, damage will occur in the body, and though the nature and extent of the damage can vary greatly, often the net result is that the blood doesn’t flow quite as well as it should. Similarly, when we become stressed, our muscles tighten and blood vessels shrink; blood pressure must then increase to push the blood through smaller passages. Again, the blood is not flowing as well it should.
With poorer blood flow, the body is not able to distribute nutrients and remove toxic waste products as easily, so tissues can become undernourished and exposed to excessive toxins.
Impaired blood circulation can also affect temperature regulation, which in turn may affect various chemical processes that occur in the body. If the blood isn’t flowing properly to a part of the body, and the temperature is not quite right, that part of the body may not function as well. Think about it, when your hands are warm, they are easier to use than when they are very cold.
WHAT IS HYDROTHERAPY?
Hydrotherapy can involve any remedial use of water, and a spa bath may be an effective way of improving your overall health if you are suffering any of the conditions described above. A spa bath can benefit you in various ways: heating, removal of toxins, massage, stretching.
Warm water heats the body, warms the blood and improves blood flow.
Removal of toxins
When the skin is warmed, the pores open up and toxins in the surface layers, along with dead layers of tissue and surface dirt, are removed. The blood also removes toxins from the body more efficiently as the warmth improves blood flow.
The bubbling of air, pounding of water jets and water turbulence will massage the body. The water jets provide the strongest massage which can be great on sore feet, an aching back or other body parts in need of a vigorous and deeper massage, but it can become irritating and counter productive if tender tissues are hit too hard or for too long.
When the body is warmed, muscles can be stretched more easily and to a greater degree, which is important to maintaining both flexibility and mobility. To use the spa to its best advantage, learn to stretch properly both when you are in the spa and when you first get out and the body is still warm.
WHAT ABOUT ACTIVE HYDROTHERAPY?
There are various other forms of hydrotherapy which involve active, vigorous movement (eg. water aerobics, swimming or deep water running). These are excellent therapeutic activities but remember when you are more active, the body generates more heat, and for this reason active hydrotherapy must be undertaken in water that is a lower temperature than would be used in a spa.
Spas have one other great benefit - a large spa can be a great place to entertain. It’s amazing how the water and heat can relax four or five people who take a spa together; and with that relaxation, they start to talk out their problems. Issues can be resolved, and things that have been niggling away inside can be released. Often, the whole exercise can start as a night of entertainment but finish as a psychological cleansing session.
CHOOSING A GOOD SPA
If you haven’t used a spa much in the past, it is a good idea to try one out first. Try a friend’s, or at least take a visit to a health club and spend half an hour in a spa there. See how you like it, but also remember, it can take time to get used to, and the temperature needs to be right for you. If your only complaint is that it is too hot, don’t dismiss getting a spa. Temperature can be adjusted to your own needs.
Try sitting in different spas (in a showroom, without the water) to see which one fits you. We all have different bodies, and some can be comfortable for one person and uncomfortable for another.
The jets (that squirt water streams) and blowers (that bubble air) will massage the body and create turbulence wherever they are located; so think about where you would like to have them positioned. Most spa companies can place them according to your needs, if you request it.
Article by John Mason and staff of ACS Distance Education.
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