Chapter 7 - Hydrotherapy PDF  | Print |  E-mail



Don Miller

No program utilizing simple, natural remedies for preventing and treating sickness would be complete without a discussion about the use of water as an “outside” (external) medicine. In this chapter, Don Miller has done an excellent job of making a sometimes boring subject both interesting and educational. With the information provided here, almost anyone should be able to experience the benefits provided. It is true! Using water therapy is not as simple at taking a pill. It is, however, inexpensive to use, and serves to restore one’s body’s functions rather than to simply cover up a symptom as often occurs when using pharmaceutical products. Hydrotherapy is not completely without risk. Anyone utilizing hydrotherapy must always be alert to the status of the patient so as to use the therapy appropriately. Children, feeble persons, the debilitated, and the elderly are among those where cautions must be especially exercised so as to do no harm. Burns are also a potential risk and must be carefully guarded against, and especially in children and those with sensitive or tender skin.

Don has correctly noted that hydrotherapy is not some magical process that cures every ill. But, when used in conjunction with a health promoting lifestyle and other simple natural measures as described in this book, HEALTH SMART, and the blessing of a loving God, some really good results can follow the wise use of hydrotherapy. (Editor’s comment)

Chapter contents

A) Foundational principles

B) History

C) Vocabulary

D) Stimulation

E) Conductivity

F) Latency

G) Density

H) Primary rules for hydrotherapy

I) Baths

J) Hot footbath and blanket pack

K) Cold mitten friction

L) Fever therapy (hyperthermia)

M) The short cold bath

N) Contrast baths

O) Neutral bath

P) Ice massage

Q) Fomentations and revulsive

R) Heating compress

S) Salt glow

T) Summary


We all need to come to grips with one very important point. Hydrotherapy is not watered-down medicine. “Okay Mrs. Jones, go home and take two hot foot baths and call me in the morning.” Hydrotherapy isn’t like that. Hydrotherapy is a part of a much larger picture—an important part? Oh yes, a very important part, but exclude the rest of the parts and you are little better, just a little wetter, for the experience. This book, HEALTH SMART, deals with all the parts and if you came straight to this chapter to learn about hydro to the exclusion of all else, you are making a mistake.

Hydrotherapy can be defined as “the use of water in any of its three forms; solid, liquid or gas, used internally or externally for the prevention and treatment of disease or trauma, or used to enhance optimal wellness through daily health programs.”

Although this chapter is about hydrotherapy, it is vital to mention the two foundational health principles. A few years ago, after spending weeks preparing for a series of lectures on hydrotherapy at Boganhofen Seminary in Austria, these two principles rose up out of the books as clearly as the images always appeared when I was in the darkroom developing pictures. It was clear that optimal health depended on the faithful promotion of these two principles. If we would learn these two principles, make them happen in our experiences, we would be well on our way to finding true health and healing.

A) Foundational principles

The first principle is very simple; the life is in the blood. Basic! Biological! Biblical! (Leviticus 17:14—“Since the life of every creature is its blood, I have told the Israelites: You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it must be cut off.”) And since your blood, by weight, is 93% water, hydro “in you” has to be the first step on your road to happy health. Other chapters in this book will discuss how to build good blood, but here we just want to encourage you to toast life with generous amounts of drinking water each and every day.

The second principle is just as simple. Perfect health requires a perfect circulation. You can have the best blood on the block, but fail to get it to the cells, the tissues, the organs, and you have more than ill health—you have death.

Here is a little test you can do to prove the second principle. If you have a blood pressure cuff, strap it on and pump it up until you can no longer feel your pulse. Leave it pumped up and do some hand exercises. Squeeze a ball or just squeeze the air. Note the changes that are happening in your arm. The numbness changes to pins and needles, and soon enough to a building pain that can be quite intense. Do not allow the experiment to continue very far after the pain threshold has been reached. You see, the pain is a result of toxins building up and is a signal that damage is being done. Release the pressure in the cuff allowing the life-giving current of blood to flow again, and the pain vanishes. Perfect health requires a perfect circulation.

B) History

This simple method of hydrotherapy, practiced by civilization for thousands of years, can quickly speed life-giving blood through the arteries, vessels and capillaries to the remotest cells in the human body. For the Greeks it was a law; in the 4th century BC, the Greek physician Hippocrates prescribed bathing and drinking spring water for its therapeutic effects. For the Romans it was a custom, and they built lavish communal baths because they believed in the value of hot springs and water therapy. For Vincent Presnitz, hydrotherapy made him world famous and brought kings and queens knocking on his door. For Sebastian Kneipp, it was a cure for tuberculosis when he was too poor to get medical help. His hydrotherapy methods in the 1800s became popular in the German-speaking countries of Europe and remain today in Kneipp spas in many German cities.

C) Vocabulary

The circulation of blood is related to such things as volume, speed, and viscosity. All will have an effect on ones health. Since hydrotherapy is the science of increasing or decreasing the flow of blood to get a healing effect, learning how it is done could be very useful. The following brief hydrotherapy vocabulary lesson should help in the understanding of this marvel of simplicity.

Contrast Bath—The immersion of a body part alternately in hot and cold water in one treatment.

Depletion—Reducing the amount of blood in a given part, or the relieving of congestion.

Depressant—An effect in which heightened or normal body activities are decreased to a marked degree.

Derivative—The drawing of blood or lymph from one part of the body by increasing the amount in another.

Diaphoretic—Increases sweating.

Fluxion—Greatly increasing the rapidity of the blood current to a particular part, producing arterial hyperemia.

Fomentation—Local applications of moist heat to the body surface—usually made of wool and cotton to retain heat and moisture.

Heating Compress—An application of a cold compress that when applied and covered causes an initial cooling followed by a warming and increase in circulation.

Hyperemia—Increase in quantity of blood flowing through the body or part of the body characterized by heat, redness.

Reflex effect—an indirect effect produced through nerve connection.

Revulsive — Increasing the rate of blood flow by alternate use of heat and cold.

R.I.C.E—Standard care for acute stage of healing: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

Retro-stasis—The drawing of blood to internal organs.

Vasoconstriction—The reduction of the diameter of a blood vessel caused by a cold application.

Vasodilation—The increase of the diameter of a blood vessel caused by a hot application.

Water therapies are, by nature, homeostatic. The body has the ability to maintain balance or stability in an ever-changing environment. Water can be manipulated to gain a host of different effects in and on the human body. A wide range of temperatures can be employed, pressure, or other mechanical distribution can be adjusted, and the chemical composition of water can be altered. Water is also available in all three forms of matter; solid, liquid, and gas. From ice rubs to steam inhalation, hydrotherapy works.

D) “Stimulation”

Temperature variation is the most common tool used in the administration of hydrotherapy. The water temperature will determine the extent of the stimulation on the skin. Millions of nerve endings in the skin help to connect our outer world to our inner world. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body, where they are instrumental in stimulating the immune system, influencing the production of stress hormones, invigorating the circulation and digestion, encouraging blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity. All of this without costly medications with their harmful side effects.

E) Conductivity

Water is an excellent conductor, which allows it to transfer heat effectively and quickly. Water has a temperature-conducting capacity twenty-seven times that of air. What does that mean? Step into a 40o F. room and feel minor discomfort. Slip into a pool of 40o F. water and you will be in a life-threatening situation is short order. Water also possesses the ability to absorb and distribute large quantities of heat. A person can sit in a sauna at 200o and sweat a lot, but place the hand in 200o water and serious damage will be done. Water gives up its heat rapidly, but does not cool quickly. The heat absorbing capacity of substances is called specific heat, and water is taken as a standard. The amount of heat a gram of water absorbs or gives off in changing its temperature one degree Celsius is called a calorie.

Conversion chart

Fahrenheit Celsius

32 0

98.6 37

212 100

Formula for converting between Fahrenheit to Celsius temperatures: oFahrenheit to oCelsius: oF—32 X 5/9 = oC. oCelsius to oFahrenheit: 9/5 X oC + 32 = oF


To convert Fahrenheit temperature to Celsius, do the following: Subtract 32 from the Fahrenheit temperature, multiply by 5, and divide by 9.

To convert Celsius to Fahrenheit: Multiply the Celsius temperature by 9, divide by 5, and add 32.

F) Latency

But there is one more marvel of water dynamics, and that is latent heat. There is latent heat of vaporization and latent heat of fusion or freezing. The great Divine Designer, besides wrapping the world in abundant water, placed within that very water, wonderful properties which seem almost impossible. For a gram of water to lose one degree Celsius, it must give up one calorie—From 3o to 2o, one calorie; from 2o to 1o, one calorie; from 1o to 0o, one calorie. But at that strange moment when the 0o water changes to 0o ice, 80 calories are given up. Whoa! What happened? There is latent or hidden heat in water that is given up in the act of freezing, thus the latent heat of freezing or fusion. The opposite is also true. When water turns from its solid state to its liquid state, it takes up 80o calories. Thus the ice massage quickly cools the tissue as it draws 80 calories for every gram of solid water that melts.

The simplest way of illustrating this phenomenon is calling to mind the olden days of hand-cranked ice cream. A metal cylinder was filled with the ice cream ingredients and then placed in a bucket of ice. Salt was added to the ice and the cylinder was turned round and round in the bucket. Why the salt? To melt the ice. Why melt the ice? Each gram of water was absorbing 80 calories of heat while still remaining at 0o C. Where did the heat come from? Inside the cylinder and the more the ice melted and the more the crank turned, the more heat was lost and slowly but surely, the contents of the cylinder began to freeze. This is the latent heat of fusion.

On the other end of the scale is the latent heat of evaporation. It takes one calorie to raise the temperature of water from 99o to 100o C. But at the moment the water changes to steam, 540 calories are absorbed while both boiling water and steam remain at 100o C. The calories are stored in the vapor. When the vapor condenses (or turns back into the liquid state) these 540 calories are given up, thus the seriousness of steam burns. But without this marvel of Divine science, we would have to wallow in the mud like a pig or pant like a dog.

When we sweat, water appears on our skin in its liquid state. It then evaporates or turns into a gas. Remember, to change from a liquid to a gaseous state, takes 540 calories. Where do these calories come from? The human body is cooled because of the latent heat of vaporization. And you thought it was just sweat that did it.

We have all had a fever from time to time. The skin is dry and hot. But one night, while we are sleeping, the “fever breaks” and we wake up soaking wet. What happened? To get you well, the body went into heat conservation, slowing down the sweating process and therefore causing the internal temperature to go up. At the higher temperature the immune system is stimulated and diseases are more easily defeated. When the body senses the job is done, it gives the “all clear” sign and we go into heat dissipation, another term for sweating. So we get up, change our pajamas and sheets without giving a thought to the marvelous thing that just happened.

G) Density

Water density is similar to that of the human body, therefore producing a buoyant effect. This is particularly useful for paralyzed muscles unable to move heavy limbs. Franklin Roosevelt and other polio sufferers like him found sanctuary in the warm buoyant waters of Warm Springs, Georgia. And a pool of water can be a great arena for those battling with obesity, enabling them to have great exercise without the attendant joint trauma they would receive “on land.”

Hot and cold each have their proper places in hydrotherapy. Working with a patient with multiple sclerosis, a dramatic reaction can be had with an ice massage to the spine. And the treatment of choice for a muscle sprain or strain is ice. Working with a patient who is agitated or in pain, a warm or hot bath can prove quite efficacious. And most of us have experienced the invigoration of the cold shower after the hot shower, but did you realize it is also a great immune booster?

This hot and cold contrast can be more than just stimulating—it can be exhilarating. A number of years ago a desire awakened within me to do something really physical. I had been out of the Marine Corps for a year and missed the physical challenges that life offered and required. Hearing about a crew going to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to plant trees, I signed on. After the first day of sticking about 3000 loblolly pines root deep in the rocky soil, I was tired, worn out, dirty, and sweaty despite the cool September weather. And here I was, in the middle of nowhere and but a tent, a sleeping bag, and a Coleman stove as modern conveniences. No shower, no bath tub, no running water unless I were to fill a bottle and run around the forest with it. And to climb into my sleeping bag in this state was an odious thought. I was told we were not too far from an old stone quarry that had filled up with water over the years.

With towel, soap, and some clean clothing in hand, I trudged into the forest to find this liquid oasis. It was there sure enough, in all its frigid un-invitingness. Whereas bears and moose probably reveled in the clear, cold waters, I was a bit less enthusiastic. This was September, the water had been cooling for a few weeks now, and the ambient air gave frosty evidence that fall had indeed already fallen. Standing on the verge, staring into those cold waters, there was a struggle going on inside. The desire to be clean won and I quickly shed my planting clothing and jumped into the lake. Thankfully I didn’t go under for the gasp effect would have been my last. It was colder than advertised by the red and yellow leaves bordering the quarry. I have never washed so fast. No luxurious soaking in the tub for an hour, this was a race against hypothermia. Once out, I dried and dressed as quickly as possible. And then it happened. It was like some forest zephyr swirled around me, lifted me in the air, and gently carried me back to the tent. It was unreal. This was my experience with contrast baths that began to make me a firm adherent to this powerful remedy.

H) Primary rules of hydrotherapy

Before engaging in hydrotherapy there are six primary rules that need to be followed to obtain the best results. They will be listed here in the form of the acronym HELPED. After all, you want your patient to be helped.

Heat—make sure the room in which you are performing the treatment is properly heated. It should not be too hot or too cold, but at a temperature in which the patient feels comfortable.

Equipment—Make sure all of the equipment you will need is readily available so you do not have to leave your patient unattended.

Lights—Make sure no bright lights are shining in the patient’s eyes. Light should be low and indirect.

Protect—Make sure the floor, bed, chairs, and other property are protected from the water.

Explain—Make sure the patient knows what you are going to do and why; this gives him/her a sense of confidence that will aid the treatment effort.

Draft-free—make sure there are no cold drafts blowing on the patient as this can cause chilling and reverse the effects of the treatment.

Now that you have received this primer in hydrotherapy theory, we will look at a few hydrotherapy techniques.

I) Baths

J) Hot footbath with blanket pack

When the feet are placed in hot water, the blood congesting other parts of the body is sent to fill the now dilated blood vessels in the lower legs and feet. This is called derivation. Congestion in the brain, lungs, abdomen and pelvic organs can be relieved in this manner. It might be germane to mention here that we often do exactly the opposite with our mode of dress, therefore congesting the very organs we are trying to decongest with this treatment. “The limbs and feet have large veins, to receive a large amount of blood, that warmth, nutrition, elasticity, and strength, may be imparted to them. But when the blood is chilled from these extremities, their blood-vessels contract, making the circulation of the necessary amount of blood in them still more difficult. A good circulation preserves the blood pure, and secures health. A bad circulation leaves the blood to become impure, and induces congestion of the brain and lungs, and causes diseases of the head, the heart, the liver, and the lungs. The fashionable style of woman’s dress is one of the greatest causes of all these terrible diseases. “But the evil does not stop here. These fashionable mothers transmit their diseases to their feeble offspring. And they clothe their feeble little girls as un-healthfully as they clothe themselves, and soon bring them to the condition of invalids, or which is preferable in many cases, to the grave. Thus fashion fills our cemeteries with many short graves, and the houses of the slaves of fashion with invalids. O God, must this state of things continue?” This quote comes from the periodical The Health Reformer, dated August 1, 1868. It seems as if the condition has only gotten worse over the last decades. Hem lines have gone up, sleeve lengths have gotten shorter or disappeared altogether, fabric is flimsier, and the little girl’s blue-tinged little legs still dangle from beneath their short skirts and dresses. Even the babies are exposed to cold as if they were too young to know the difference. The hot footbath seeks to reverse some of the damage we so often willfully perpetrate upon ourselves.

1. Definition

A hot footbath consists of a local immersion bath covering the feet and ankles (and sometimes up to mid-calf) at temperatures ranging from 100o to 115o F.

2. Physiologic Effects

There is a local and a reflex increase in blood flow through the feet and entire skin. If the treatment continues long enough, there will be an elevation in body temperature thus strengthening the immune system by increasing white blood cell activity and warming the chilled body. This is a great treatment to give before any cold treatment. The elevation in heat will also relax the whole body, relieving tense muscles, and calming stressed nerves.

3. Indications

Cold feet

Colds, both threatened and developed, chest congestion, flu, cough


Pelvic congestion (cramps), pelvic inflammatory disease, hemorrhoids, prostate problems

Pain anywhere in the body

Preparation for any other treatment

Local inflammation to the feet

4. Contraindications

Insulin dependent diabetes and any other condition where there is poor circulation in the feet and legs.

5. Equipment needed

Foot tub able to hold at least five gallons of water

Water thermometer and an oral thermometer—If a water thermometer is not available, constantly check the water temperature with the hand.

Sheet and a blanket

Heavy towel and a washcloth for cooling head compress

Material to protect the bed if needed (An old shower curtain or large piece of plastic will do fine)

Container from which to add hot water

Container filled with ice water

Drinking glass to give patient sips of water

6. Procedure

After running through the HELPED points (item H above), drape a chair with a blanket or two and then a sheet. These should be large enough to completely cover the patient. The patient, we’ll call him Nate, should be disrobed and seated on the chair. Wrap Nate in the sheet and then the blanket so he is covered from the neck to the feet. A towel can be placed around his neck to keep a draft from stealing in and chilling him as well as protecting him from irritation of the blanket.

Once Nate is comfortable, open the blanket and sheet at the feet and lower legs and place the feet in a large basin of warm water. It is good if the sheet and blanket can then wrap the entire basin.

Begin with the water at a very comfortable 100o—105o F. Add hot water slowly with the hand placed between the water being poured and the legs. Wave the hand back and forth to mix the water thereby raising the water a degree at a time and not letting the legs feel the full brunt of the hot water on one pour. Hot water can be added to tolerance, even up to 120 o F, but this must be done one hot pour at a time.

Each time a pour is completed, cover the legs and check the condition of Nate. Is he sweating yet? If so, keep his head cool with cold compresses. A washcloth dipped in ice water and wrung out works great. Don’t make it too soppy as the cold water will run down the neck and perhaps cause a chill. Nate will tell you what enough is, and remember, every patient is different. It will be good to give sips of tepid water too, once perspiring begins. If the purpose of the treatment was to warm cold feet, that will only take a few minutes and sweating will not be an issue. But if the feet were chilled long enough, and other signs exist that a cold, flu, or other sickness is threatening, now is the time to nip it in the bud. Give a vigorous treatment, raising the body temperature, inducing a good sweat, and invigorating the entire immune system. Any temperature rise is beneficial, and upwards of 102o F optimal.

Monitor the temperature and pulse rate closely. The pulse should not rise above 140 (less in the elderly or debilitated); if it does, a little cool water added to the footbath will slow the heart down just a bit.

If the problem was a headache or pelvic congestion/cramps (commonly not Nate’s problem, but his twin sister Natalie’s), the treatment needs only continue until the desired effects are gained. This also will rarely require a sweating treatment. Also, if this treatment is being used to prepare Nate for any other treatment, especially a cold treatment like a short cold bath, an ice massage, or a wet sheet pack, the duration only needs to be until Nate feels warm all over.

Another real benefit of this treatment, especially in the full sweating stage, is detoxification. The skin is the body’s third kidney and as such is an organ of elimination. If Nate were struggling with nicotine withdrawal, or alcohol or drug addiction, the sweating would help draw toxins from the body, speeding release from the addictive powers of these poisons. In just a few treatments real relief can be experienced. (Sweating is also an effective means of assisting failing kidneys.)

Nate has now received the desired effect. Pain is gone, the body is warm, and toxins are removed. Finishing the treatment will be different for each purpose. For the general warming, he should dry himself well and dress warmly. For the headache, do a cold pour on the feet, dry well, and then rest for a short while, making sure to stay well hydrated. For the pelvic cramps, omit the cold pour on the feet. Just dry well and lie down for a rest. For the detoxification, a shower should follow this treatment and the skin should be vigorously scrubbed with a luffa of natural bristle brush, making sure all the impurities what were sweated out are washed down the drain and not left to be reabsorbed by the body. And the grand finale for the cold and flu treatment is a one-hour rest in bed. Protect the feet when they are removed from the tub. Do not walk on a cold floor but rather put on a pair of slippers.

This treatment can also be done with Nate lying in bed or on a massage table. As always, make sure the bedding is protected from the excess moisture. Have Nate lie on his back with his knees flexed. Place the feet in a foot basin filled with warm water. Proceed as with the chair method. Depending on the purpose of the treatment, more or less blankets may be used. And once the treatment is over, Nate can just remain where he is for his rest.

K) Cold mitten friction

To really stimulate the immune system, try doing a cold mitten friction over the whole body after the footbath has been completed. To make a friction mitt, fold a washcloth in half and stitch two sides, leaving one short side open for the hand. Wet the mitt in cold water, expose one limb at a time and beginning at the hand or the foot, vigorously rub in a to-and-fro fashion all the way to the hip or shoulder. You may have to re-wet the mitts often to keep them cold. The desired effect is a nice rosy tint to the skin that means the blood has been brought to the surface. Once the limb has been sufficiently frictioned, dry it well, and cover it with a dry towel, then move on to another limb. Once all limbs have been frictioned, the chest and back can also be frictioned.

This cold mitten frictioning can be used as a stand-alone treatment. The frictioning restores tone to the muscles and blood vessels, making them more able to carry out their vital duties. It also increases heat production by increasing circulation. Often people suffering from chilliness all the time have sluggish circulatory systems. This treatment will speed things up a bit.

The frictioning also increases glandular, muscular and metabolic activities of the internal organs, as well as increasing phagocytosis and anti-bacterial activities, both immune system benefits. And for those prone to catching colds, or who have low energy levels and endurance, this treatment is excellent.

“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 143. With simple hydrotherapy treatments, we have the privilege of ministering as Christ ministered. Take the case of Sally Jane (not her real name but she was a real person). We had been studying with her each Sabbath afternoon in her simple shanty home in the middle of a cotton field of rural Alabama.

We arrived one Sabbath and found Sally Jane sick, too sick to concentrate on a Bible study. While I retrieved my medical missionary supplies (never leave home without them) from the back of my truck, Sabine and Hannalore got Sally Jane ready. They prepared a mild foot bath (with water drawn from a well in the back yard and heated in a fireplace), placed a heating compress around her neck, and as one gave her a chair massage, we all sang Scripture songs. Did Sally Jane miss a Bible study that Sabbath? No indeed, she experienced one in a way impossible with conventional medicine. In almost primitive surroundings in rural Alabama, we learned how God’s simple methods of healing know no limitations, except the ones we impose due to ignorance.

L) Fever therapy—hyperthermia

Fever therapy is one of those time-tested remedies utilized by cultures all around the world. The “sweat lodge” of the American Indian is only one of many places in the world where body temperatures have been raised in the treatment of disease. The following discussion exemplifies some of the many ways heat may be effectively applied.

1. The effects of fever on the body are many

a. Heat kills

Raising the body temperature kills many kinds of viruses (flu virus, etc.) and bacteria (syphilis, etc.) and stimulates the immune system. Cancer cells too are often more sensitive to death by heat than normal body cells. Therefore fever therapy (Hyperthermia) has been used for generations in the treatment of cancer, and is even now finding new roles in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy in the treatment of many cancers.

b. Sweating

The sweat glands open up and begin secreting water in response to fever. It is the body’s way of cooling itself as the perspiration evaporates. In the process, numerous toxins are excreted along with the water. These include heavy metals like mercury, lead, zinc and copper, and body waste products like urea, (the major component in urine), lactic acid (accumulation causes muscle pain and stiffness after exercise), salts, and others.

c. Heat stimulates circulation

As the body temperature increases, surface blood vessels open up, the heart speeds up, increasing the flow of oxygen-loaded blood throughout the body.

Breathing rate and depth increase, opening resting air sacs (alveoli), taking in greater supplies of oxygen and clearing carbon dioxide and other volatile gasses from the system.

There are many ways of administering hyperthermia. A few of the more common ones are described here.

2. Hot bath hyperthermia treatment

Often called a fever treatment, this is a treatment used to artificially raise the body temperature for specific heating effects. To call it a “fever” treatment is to detract from the truly marvelous mechanism of fever in the body. It must be understood that a fever is a friend. The body, made by a wise Master Designer, monitors itself better than all of man’s inventions. When it sees something amiss, like a virus sneaking in the door, it rallies the immune system. Knowing the white blood cells reproduce and move faster in a warmer environment, the hypothalamus sends orders for the body to go into heat conservation. As sweat production ceases, heat starts to build. Remember, there is no more latent heat of evaporation taking place so heat stays inside. This is what a fever really is.

Hyperthermia is the technique of hydrotherapy in which the environmental heat is increased to the point that even with copious sweating the internal temperature still goes up. As long as the environment is hot, the body will be hot. It is quite easy to elevate a person’s temperature and then maintain it at that elevated level simply by keeping the environment at a constant elevated temperature. Usually a water temperature of 108o–111o F. is sufficient to elicit a robust reaction.

3. For the hot bath a few pieces of equipment are necessary

A bathtub bath thermometer

Empty pitcher 3-4 bath towels and a bath mat

Basin of ice water 2 washcloths

Glass for water drinking oral thermometer

Paper bag note pad and pencil

Go over the HELPED principles (preceding item H) before placing her—let’s call her Natalie—in the tub, take her temperature, her pulse, check the temperature of the water in the tub, and record all three. The water in the tub should be between 100o and 103o F. Since she is at this point, you probably already know why you are doing this treatment, but in case you have forgotten, there are a few indications for a therapeutic hot bath.

4. Indications for hyperthermia

Muscle pain or basically pain anywhere

Pain or spasm of arthritis

Muscle or joint stiffness

Fatigue syndrome

Flu or colds and many other infections

Said to be very effective in treatment of Lyme disease

Any other reason to encourage immune functions

5. Contraindications

Great obesity

Severe hypertension

Tendency to hemorrhage

Disturbance of heat sensation

Extreme feebleness or debility

So Natalie is ready to go and she is helped into the tub. Make sure she is comfortably situated. A folded towel behind the head is nice, and padding under her if needed. A towel should be draped over her chest and upper arms and if her knees protrude above the water, one should be draped over them too. Throughout the treatment use the pitcher to dip water from the tub and pour it over the draping towels.

Once Natalie is comfortably situated, start adding hot water slowly to the tub making sure not to burn Natalie’s legs. It should take about five minutes to get to your desired water temperature of 107 o—111o F. Each person is different and will react differently to the water. Some are very sensitive and cannot handle water too warm. Some will have a very quick rise in body temperature—others will be very slow.

Take the oral temperature and pulse every five minutes. The pulse should not rise above 140 unless the person is young and healthy, in which case 150 is acceptable.

The overall goal of this treatment is either to lower pain, or to raise body temperature. Often pain will respond to this treatment before much of a temperature elevation is noted. This is fine. Once the pain subsides, maintain the water temperature at a level between 105o and 108 o F. But if you are trying to boost the immune system, it is best to try to get an oral elevation of at least 102 o F. As long as Natalie is handling it well and her pulse is not racing like a hummingbird’s, you can take her to 104o F with little difficulty. Keep the head cool with the ice water and give periodic sips of tepid water.

If Natalie begins to hyperventilate, have her breathe into a paper bag. Re-breathing her own CO2 will lower the O2 level in her bloodstream and bring her back down to earth. It takes a lot of encouragement to keep some people in a therapeutic hot bath, but make the effort. The treatment doesn’t last that long. Once you have obtained the desired oral temperature, say 102 o F., hold it there for at least 20 minutes. You are then ready to conclude the treatment. You have already prepared the bed for Natalie to rest in, covering the bedding well with plastic.

Assist Natalie in standing up. This is a critical phase of the treatment as she will be very light-headed and weak. If you do not feel capable of handling her if she would happen to fall, leave her in the tub for the second option of treatment termination. Option one consists of getting her out hot, assisting her to the bed, lying her down and covering her well, placing a cold compress or ice bag on her forehead, and watching her for at least 15 minutes. She may fall asleep, but ensure a cold compress is on her head until her temperature is below 100o F.

The second option in terminating the treatment is to lower the water temperature in the tub to about 100o F and wait for her oral temperature to fall to 100o F also. Then sit Natalie up and give her a 30 second cold water spray. This will generate some energy on her part and allow you to get her out of the tub and to the bed a bit more safely. This must be done quickly because chilling at this point is an enemy. Natalie’s temperature will still be elevated and this contrast works wonders with the immune system. Natalie still needs to rest for at least an hour.

6. Another variation of hyperthermia—self administration

Infections in adults can easily be treated by sitting in a hot tub bath from 102 to 108 degrees until the skin is quite red, and profuse sweating occurs. You can use an indoor/outdoor thermometer from a department store. After the first five minutes, place an ice-cold cloth to the forehead. If you have a fever greater than 101 degrees, begin the bath with an ice-cold cloth to the forehead. Take a cup of hot water or hot herb tea when sweating begins. When the skin is red and sweating profusely, after 10–20 minutes, finish off the remedy as follows: (1) work fast to take a brief spray of cool water over the entire body from the chin downward; (2) then a quick friction rubdown with a coarse towel; (3) wrap a bathrobe around you, immediately get into bed and sweat for half an hour; (4) then arise, take a brief, normal shower if needed to cleanse the skin and relieve a sense of chilliness after sweating. (5) Re-dress.

When one finishes the hot soaking bath, if the treatment has been a good one, a sensation of weakness or faintness may develop after a moment of standing, because of the transfer of blood from the interior of the body to the exterior, much as in sunburn. This is normal, because of extensive reddening of the skin, and is actually the desired effect. (Caution: Be aware of this and take precautions so as not to fall and get hurt.)

For infections in children, put the child in a bath of very warm water. The timing is critical, and you must have either a timer or a person to keep time. From ages one to three use three minutes for the length of the bath. For older children, use one minute for each year of age—four minutes for a four-year-old, five minutes for a five-year-old, etc. Raise the water temperature at about 102-106 degrees. When the time is up, lift the child out of the hot water, or let him stand, and pour a pitcher of cool water over the entire body from the shoulders down, including the feet. Then give a rubdown with a course towel and put the child to bed for a nap.

7. Sauna for hyperthermia

Sauna is another means of administering hyperthermia, either when used as dry heat, or with steam produced by pouring water on hot rocks. The objective of sauna as with other forms of hyperthermia is to raise body temperature so as to obtain the effects noted above. Careful monitoring of temperature and pulse are important. Drinking water is a must to maintain good hydration throughout. Many authorities recommend a brisk rub down with a luffa sponge or brush followed by a shower to remove waste materials excreted in the sweat.

M) The short, cold bath

Some people don’t tolerate heat very well. Others would get too claustrophobic sitting in a tub of hot water for an hour. Some people just want to, like the Marine Corps drill instructor used to bellow at the recruits as they were entering the chow hall, “Get in, get it, and get out.” With the short cold bath, each of these concerns can be met with this very effective hydrotherapy treatment. But as with all treatments, there are contraindications.

1. Contraindications

A chilled patient—never give a chilled patient a cold treatment

Someone with an extreme fear of cold

The temperature on the rise and the patient feels chilly. Whenever giving a treatment that involves cold, warm the patient with a hyperthermia treatment of some type, like a hot footbath.

2. Indications for the short, cold bath

The short, cold bath is just as effective as the hot bath for most metabolic and degenerative conditions for which hyperthermia is used.

3. Procedure

Prepare the tub of water. If no tub is available, a shower will do fine (or a deserted stone quarry as mentioned earlier). There are two main factors in this type of treatment, they being duration and intensity. Duration can range from a quick plunge to upwards of 20 minutes. This will depend on the robustness of the patient, the intended effects and the temperature of the water used. Water temperature can be between 55o and 90 o F. If a series of treatments is planned, the first treatment should start at 90 o with a 5 o decrease each subsequent day. As already mentioned, a person who is already chilled should not receive this treatment before being warmed by some other type of treatment.

The effect of this treatment is intensified by continual rubbing of the skin during the treatment. This can be done with the bare hands, a friction mitt, a luffa sponge or a natural bristly brush, whatever the skin can tolerate best. If this treatment is in the form of a shower, the shower should be forceful with heavy stream, not one of those pins and needles showers.

Before the treatment begins, bathe the face in cold water and dry briskly. A full-body brush massage may also precede the cold plunge. The patient should then be helped in to the tub or shower and the rubbing begin immediately.

The colder the bath, the shorter should be the duration of treatment. At the colder temperatures, say 55 o to 75 o, the entire treatment should last between 30-180 seconds. Don’t worry! If you have done everything right to this point, you will get a good reaction.

At the conclusion of the treatment, do a brisk rubbing of the entire body with a coarse bath towel and allow the patient to rest for at least an hour.

I was lecturing in London a few years ago and giving a talk in a private home to a rather large gathering of very proper Englanders. After the talk a lively middle-aged woman approached me and told me of her daily habit of taking a cold bath. “I can’t live without me cold bot, ya know,” she affirmed. And from all evidences, they were doing her a great service.

N) Contrast baths

Now, we have talked about a hot bath and a cold bath, now we look at both employed in the same treatment. This is called a contrast bath and the greater the contrast, the greater the reaction. This treatment is based on the principle that by alternate vasodilatation and vasoconstriction brought about by means of hot and cold applications, circulation is greatly improved and waste products are carried away effectively. It is sort of a vascular gymnastics session that not only improves the function of the vessels present, but stimulates collateral circulation as well.

Since we have already discussed the importance of circulation, the physiologic benefits of this treatment should be readily apparent. More oxygen, more nutrients, more white blood cells to an infected area, and you have heightened healing. This is an excellent treatment for infections, 2–6 treatments a day being a good goal to shoot for.

Contrast baths may include the whole body, or any portion of it. It is ideal for healing chronic wounds, ulcers, etc.

1. Indications

Besides reducing inflammations, other indications include: strains, sprains, and other traumas, poor circulation, congestion and indolent ulcers, osteoarthritis, and anytime you want to increase circulation to a diseased area. It can be used nicely for pelvic afflictions.

2. Contraindications

Contraindications are relative and temperatures must be adjusted to meet the patient’s present condition. One would not use hot water on the feet of patients with diabetes or other vascular disease limiting circulation. On the other hand, by using lower temperatures, one can obtain the desired contrast effect without doing damage to the tissues.

3. Equipment needed

Two containers large enough to fully immerse the body part to be treated. (A shower is great when giving a contrast bath to the whole body.)

Bath thermometer

Thick towels

Way to add hot water

Ice for cold bath if desired

4. Procedure

Let’s say a friend of yours has a swollen hand. It is red, painful and feels warm to the touch. Fill a container with very warm water; about 105 o to 110 o F. Fill another with cold water. Both containers should be large enough for your friend to place the whole hand and lower arm in the water. Have him/her place the hand in the warm water and leave it there for 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes, move the hand to the cold water for 30 seconds. During this time you need to add more hot water to the first container, bringing it up 3 o or 4 o F. Then back into the hot water with the hand for another 3 minutes. Ice might be added to container two now. After 3 minutes, the hand goes back to the cold water while more hot water is added to container one, again raising the temperature 3 o to 4 o F. The hot water can eventually be raised to 115 o -120 o F or to patient tolerance.

For a contrast sitzbath, place two very large containers in a bathtub containing only enough water to immerse the pelvis and hips. Being in the tub ensures spillover just goes down the drain and not all over the floor. You can place the containers on a raised surface like a plastic step or similar object. The key is preventing the water container from falling along with its human cargo. It is best to place the hot container at the end of the tub where the faucets are located for easy hot water replenishment. After three minutes in the hot, have the patient stand, turn around and sit in the cold water for 30 seconds. As with the hand tub, hot water is added at this point so when the patient stands and turns around, a warmer reception awaits him.

The contrast sitzbath is especially beneficial for ailments affecting the abdomen and the reproductive system, inflammations, pelvic congestion in males and females, cramps, hemorrhoids, menstrual problems, and kidney and intestinal pains. A variation is the hot sitzbath that can be used for the same ailments without the extreme cold that may cause some people discomfort.

A young man I was working with a few years ago was suffering from congested sinuses. The hydrotherapist has an ample armamentarium at his disposal for this situation but I wanted to try something different. Fetching a snorkel, I prepared two plastic basins, one with hot and one with cold water. The young man put the snorkel into his mouth and “dove” into the hot basin. As he was breathing happily away, I watched my watch and read a book. At three minutes I tapped his head and he dutifully rose up pink and warm and plunged into the cold basin that had been stocked with a nice supply of ice. This was to be a contrast bath. While he was bobbing for cubes, I added more hot water to basin one. After 30 seconds he found the warm water most welcomed. We continued this routine for six or seven hot/cold contrasts and the young man went home that evening much improved.

O) Neutral bath

We have discussed the hot bath, the cold bath and the contrast bath. The only bath left is the neutral bath and it too has its proper place in the hydrotherapy armamentarium. Because of the reduced sensation, being neither cold nor hot, it has a sedative effect upon the receiver. The water is prepared in a tub at between 94 o and 97 o F. Because it is a full immersion bath, the circulation is equalized, thus reducing brain and spinal congestion. When given for insomnia it should be given just before bed. After 30 minutes in the tub, have the patient stand, pat dry, not friction, and go right to bed.

While the person is in the tub it is best to have the whole body covered. Towels, as described in Hot Bath, can cover exposed areas. Keep the face wet with the water so there is a whole body temperature exposure.

1. Indications for this treatment are

Insomnia, nervous system sedative, anxiety, chronic diarrhea, peripheral neuritis, irritability, disease of blood or vessels

P) Ice massage

An ice massage is the local application of ice to a portion of the body that will initially reduce the blood flow and then greatly increase the flow of blood. For most people four stages of sensation will be experienced when receiving this treatment. First there will be a cold, uncomfortable sensation. That is what ice does best. This will be followed by a burning sensation and then by aching for a short duration. Finally numbness takes over, providing a nice analgesic effect.

1. Indications

Indications for ice massage include joint pain such as bursitis, muscle pain such as sprains, strains, acute low back or neck pain.

There is a rule of thumb everyone should remember: ice is the first treatment for sprains or strains. The sooner ice is applied, the shorter will be the duration of the pain and debility. There have been those who have sprained their ankles badly. Treatment with the intermittent application of ice for the first 12 to 24 hours followed by contrast baths for a day or two has resulted in complete recovery in a few days.

2. Contraindications

Ice massage should not be used on a patient that is cold, has had a stroke, or has rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the nicest ways of applying the ice with minimum discomfort to the one applying the ice is to freeze water in styrofoam cups. It would be a good idea to always have a few cups in the freezer for those emergency situations. Fill the cups to about three quarters full before placing in the freezer. When needed, remove one of the cups and with a sharp blade cut about one inch off the bottom of the cup. Take the separated piece of cup and place it on top of the ice at the top of the cup. You now have an insulated handle where no part of the ice touches the hand. As the ice melts more of the cup may be cut off. Never allow the styrofoam to rake over the skin.

It is best to rub the ice in a circular motion over the painful area and slightly beyond the point of the pain. At the beginning of the treatment, it is best to do a few rotations with the ice and then a few with the open hand. This moves the body slowly into the treatment with no shock effect. With this back and forth motion, ice and hand, the ice slowly replaced the hand and soon the whole treatment is with the ice.

Make sure the patient remains warm throughout the treatment. A hot footbath can facilitate this, as can just wrapping the patient up in warm blankets. The treatment should be continued until pain subsides, or a bit longer if desired. Remember, a sprain or a strain has done physical damage and the ice will also promote healing. After the treatment for joint pain, do a series of gentle resistive exercises involving every muscle around the injured area.

If the styrofoam cups are not available, any block of ice can be used. Just be sure the hand of the one giving the treatment does not get too cold. An oven mitt will work, as will a thick face towel. Once while in Ukraine I received a request to visit a Ukrainian man who had slipped and fallen on the ice and injured his back. He was in so much pain that he was carried into the nearest home, for it was too cold to remain outside. When entering the home I noted the large icicles lining the edge of the roof, a testimony to the long weeks of sub-freezing temperatures we had experienced.

The man was lying on a bed in much pain and agony, even to the point that tears were much in evidence from this large man. The local healer had been called but as I was there first, had started treatment. Sending a young man out to harvest one of the icicles, I asked the woman of the house to bring a pot of hot water and a towel. Once these simple articles had been gathered, and after prayer, I dipped the icicle into hot water to smooth the rough broken end, and then started alternating with circles with the icicle and circles with my hand, moving the man slowly into the treatment. Ice at first can be a bit of a shocker and the hand gave a momentary respite. The healer came to the door and muttered something about how this would never work and we were all wasting out time. Undeterred, the ice massage continued. Soon the tears stanched, the man relaxed, and could move with very little pain. When we were done he was able to get up and go home to his own bed. And, the healer invited me to go fishing with him. Ice is pretty powerful stuff.

Q) Fomentations and revulsive

A foamin’ what? While stationed at the Marine Barracks in Key West, Florida, in the mid 1970s, I was overtaken with a bad chest cold. It hurt to breathe. My pastor’s wife invited me to their home to receive a series of fomentations. Not knowing what they were, I consented, if for no other reason than I was willing to try anything to get better. Sister Zill had lived 20 years in India and raised two daughters there. Home remedies were more than a novelty for the Zill family, they were the best means of health recovery they had available. So whatever a foamin’ was, I was willin’.

A fomentation is a thick moist cloth used to cover an afflicted area. The cloth can be a commercial fomentation, normally brushed cotton laundry flannel—a material of a 50/50 combination of wool (real or synthetic) and cotton, or a very thick towel folded into fourths. Whatever is used, the final product should be approximately 12” wide and 30” long and the thicker the better. To make them easier to handle, sew the sides together and/or use quilting stitches to prevent their unfolding during treatment.

You will also need fomentation covers. Large squares made of woolen blankets work best if you don’t mind the smell of hot, moist wool. Sheep don’t. The wool holds and distributes the heat of the fomentation nicely so it makes a superior cover. These squares should be about 36” square, large enough to completely cover the fomentation. Synthetic blanket material will work also if you don’t mind synthetics.

So you may be asking, what is revulsive? This is the application of cold to get the contrast effect you learned about in Contrast Baths. It is normally done with friction mitts wrung out in ice water. The greater the contrast, the greater the effect!

1. Indications

Fomentations are ideal for chest colds, bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonia.

Other examples of indications include:

Pain from nerves and joints

Muscle tension

Insomnia; applied to the spine is sedative

Pain in internal organs

Infections—by stimulating immune response

Inflammation—particularly in joints and muscles

Systemic or organic infections, as in pyelonephritis

2. Contraindications

Insulin-dependent diabetes or other indications of hardening of the circulatory problems if applied to feet

To the heart of a patient with a heart attack

Unconsciousness or loss of sensation

Bleeding tendencies

3. Equipment

We have already mentioned the main equipment, that being the fomentations. It is good to have at least four fomentations with their covers. Since the fomentation will be steam heated, you will need at least four thick towels to serve as insulators between skin and fomentation.

The trappings of a hot footbath (see hot footbath) may also be used if you plan to employ the hot footbath in conjunction with the fomentations.

That will include a glass of water with a straw with which to keep the patient hydrated, in this case, me.

4. Procedure

Arriving about as beat as an egg at Pastor Zill’s home, I was instructed to put on a pair of shorts and lie on the bed that had been properly prepared to protect the mattress and bedding. Now, I have a runner’s body, euphemism for “I am skinny.” That means my bones lie just below a thin layer of un-insulated skin. So beware, make sure the hips and other areas where bones are not protected by muscles receive a generous layering of towels. The goal is to heat the area, not fry it. Sr. Zill rolled a hot fomentation out on the bed, layered on the towels, and had me lie on top of the fomentation that stretched from my neck to my coccyx.

So, how can you be sure if you are not burning the patient? Often a person thinks a bit of pain is a part of the procedure, the old “make it hurt till it feels good” mentality. You ask, “Is that too hot? And they answer with the slightest hesitation, No. Take a tip from Dr. Paul Brand, author of the fantastic book, The Gift of Pain. You normally don’t have to ask a patient anything, just observe them. Do you see them rocking back and forth, or levitating in the middle? It’s too hot, simple as that. Fix it right away. Another layer of towel, or two, whatever it takes.

Once I was situated over the fomentation, Sr. Zill laid a towel across my chest and rolled on a hot fomentation with cover, then covered the whole fomentation sandwich with a blanket. After about three minutes, the fomentation was removed from my chest and the ice mitts were applied to my rosy skin for a thirty-second frictioning. The next fomentation was standing by and after my skin was dried, it was rolled on. On this night this procedure was repeated twenty times. Normally three to five are adequate, but I have always opted for the higher numbers. The dedication and skill of Mary Alice Zill were instrumental in more than my rapid recovery from the sickness. I was being loved back into the church of my youth. Home remedies, fixing people for an eternity.

Fomentations can be applied to any of the areas of the body. Smaller ones can be made for the face, a great treatment for sinus afflictions. Using a smaller towel, fold it lengthwise until it is about 3” wide. Flip both tails down and place it on the face with the base over the forehead and the tails lying close by the side of the nose. With this fomentation, the sinuses are mostly covered and all the benefits of the vasodilatation and alternating vasoconstriction can be realized, a real relief for the person suffering from sinus congestion. It is adequate to wring this fomentation out in hot water and apply it directly to the face, since the face is a bit more sensitive to things very hot.

R) Heating compress

In a small way, a heating compress is like a mini fomentation, with one notable exception; it goes on cold. Granted, applying a cold cloth to the skin and calling it a heating compress sounds a bit like a contradiction, but just wait, heat comes. A heating compress causes the superficial blood vessels to dilate, bringing blood to the surface and relieving congestion in others areas by the process of derivation. When a cold, wet cloth is laid on the skin and is then covered with a barrier preventing the free circulation of air, the body’s reflex action brings more blood to warm the area and thus heat gradually builds up, and voila, heating compress. It can be applied for several hours, or all day or all night.

Besides bringing more blood to the area, a heating compress can relax underlying muscles. Thus the indications respond to these reactions.

1. Indications

Sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngitis.

Chest colds, pneumonia and other chest congestions.

Joint problems, rheumatic joint, pain in any part.

Abdominal distress—slow digestion, constipation, chronic pain.


2. Contraindications

The patient is not vigorous enough to warm the compress.

Skin lesions that require staying dry.

3. Equipment

Since the heating compress is so versatile and can be used on virtually any part of the body, compiling an equipment list could be a daunting task. A list of general items needed follows, but this chapter seeks not to place restrictions on your imagination.

One or two layers of loosely woven material, preferably cotton, wide enough to coven the area to be treated and long enough for one circumference of the part.

A middle covering of one thickness of plastic completely covering the first layer to keep from losing moisture.

An outer covering of thick material to insulate the compress, keeping warmth inside.

Fasteners to hold the compress in place.

Cold water.

A towel.

4. Procedure

First, make sure that Taylor (our newest patient) is warm. Applying a cold cloth to a cold person can cause a chill and that is contraindicated. That accomplished, inform Taylor that the cloth soon to be wrapped around a body part will be cold at first. Let’s say she has a sore throat. Dip the first cloth in cold water, wring it out, and wrap it completely around the neck. Next completely cover the first later with the plastic—plastic wrap, a piece of a plastic bag, a thin piece of drop cloth—whatever you have available. Then apply the third layer. It can be a piece of wool, a scarf, a dickey (I like these if I plan on wearing the compress while I am about my public business) or the whole turtleneck.

After the compress has been in place approximately ten minutes, slide a finger under all three layers and feel for the warmth that should be there. If it is not, your patient apparently lacks the vital force to warm it up. You can now end the treatment and look for another simple remedy, you can apply a warm covering to artificially warm the compress, or you can reapply the compress, this time using warm water. Keep the compress in place for two hours to all day or night. When removing it, do a light frictioning with a cold cloth and dry well. Then cover the area to prevent chilling.

A heating compress may be applied to the entire torso that will address the lungs or the digestive organs. Use a tight-fitting tee shirt with the sleeves cut off as the first layer. Use a garbage bag with head and armholes cut out for the second layer. And for the third later, a snug fitting sweatshirt or sweater will do nicely.

A mild hot footbath can also be simulated with a heating compress to the feet. Begin with two pairs of moist cotton socks, followed by two bread bags or other plastic bags that will accommodate the feet, and top it all off with a thick pair of woolen socks. If your patient has a propensity for athlete’s foot, add a bit of vinegar to the water. Thus the otherwise warm, dark, moist environment you have created, which fungus loves, is now too acid and you are safe.

This treatment to the feet can help with a head cold, headache, chest congestion, or pelvic congestion. The treatment can be ended with a cold pour to the feet except in the case of menstrual cramps when a warm ending is better.

S) Salt glow

The salt glow is one of the best kept secrets in the apothecary of the hydrotherapist. It is a treatment that is good for diabetes as well as cancer—something hyperthermia treatments cannot claim—and it just plain feels good with a minimum of equipment. It can be defined as the application of moist salt directly to the skin in a frictioning movement that results in a glow, indicating a fresh supply of blood is being rushed to the area.

1. Indications

As a peripheral vasodilator for patients who don’t do well with hot or cold treatments.

To improve circulation.

For frequent colds.

For low blood pressure.

For general weakness or low endurance.

Diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, muscle wasting.

Chronic indigestion.

2. Contraindications

Skin lesions

Acute debilitating disease

3. Equipment needed

Although the choice of salt isn’t critical, I prefer Kosher or pickling salt. Regular table salt can be used in a pinch, and sidewalk salt can tend to be just a bit rough on the skin. Depending on how large the area is to be treated will dictate how much salt is needed. Have two to four pounds standing by; you can always use it in subsequent treatments.

Stool to place in bathtub (or the patient can stand).

Basin or bucket for the salt.

Foot tub filled with water between 105 o and 110 oF.

Once you have assembled all of the equipment and gone through your HELPED checklist (preceding item H), seat the patient on the stool in the bathtub (or shower) or have him/her stand. The feet should be in the foot tub. The salt basin should have just enough water added to it to make the salt stick to your hands when pressed into the basin. The patient’s legs should also be wet from the foot tub or a shower at the outset of the treatment. With salted hands, grasp each side of a leg lightly and begin quick frictioning strokes from the ankle toward the hip. These are short quick up-down movements as you slowly climb the leg. Replenish the salt often. Once one leg is completed, do the other one. When the legs are done, work on the arms, the back, and finally the chest. Frictioning should be prolonged enough to produce a pink glow, but not long enough to cause irritation.

Once the patient is well frosted with salt, have him completely remove all the salt, either in a shower or by pouring water over the body. Dry him with a friction rub, and be sure he doesn’t get chilled.

T) Summary

In the last few pages I have sought to acquaint you with some of the many hydrotherapy methods. In no way could this list be exhaustive for two reasons. One, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg wrote volumes on the subject of hydrotherapy, presenting hundreds of different hydrotherapy techniques. But even Kellogg didn’t find all of the hydrotherapy methods possible. With a basic knowledge of hydrotherapy theory and a willingness to experiment, God could show you some simple technique that would be effective in your particular case.

Hydrotherapy? God can use any method He so chooses to bring about healing. I would never be so foolish as to say I had healed someone, or would I ever say a person was healed by hydrotherapy, diet, or lifestyle modification. God only brings healing.

© Copyright 2010 by A Place of Healing.