I’ve been vacillating about when to write about the use of hydrotherapy as a health-care treatment, but I think the time is now. I thought maybe I should wait until the season of Water Element, but that’s during the winter months, and who wants to take a cold shower then? So I thought I’d write about it in the spring, when people are up for a spring cleanse, but that’s too far away. Since we are in the season of releasing and letting go (see Syncing with the Seasons for more on that) I’ve decided that it’s absolutely appropriate to talk about the benefits of hydrotherapy in detoxification so that you can liberate those toxins you don’t want to take with you into the winter months of gestation. (See the Energy Medicine Moment for a simple hydrotherapy technique toward that end.)
Hydrotherapy is the use of water – both hot and cold – to treat a number of conditions in the body: an ice-pack on a sore muscle, a cool washcloth on a fevered brow, a long soak in a hot bath after a stressful day, to name a few. Years ago, when I was 15 and working my first summer job away from home, I met a somewhat older woman (I think she was all of 19) who had gorgeous hair. I asked her what her secret was and she told me that after washing it she would turn the hot tap off and make the final rinse of her hair in purely cold water. I took her word for it, and have employed this method over the years, but I always wonder in the back of my mind if she wasn’t playing a dirty trick on a clueless kid – ’cause that final rinse is a shocker!
Fast forward ten years and I was studying hydrotherapy in massage school, where I learned the ability of contrasting water temperatures to aid in “massaging” cells, forcing them to expand and contract and thereby “squeezing” out metabolic waste that may be not be moving with alacrity. In this way, hydrotherapy increases circulation and aids in the detoxification processes of the skin, kidneys, colon, lymphatic system, and liver. It encourages blood flow, smooth muscle contraction, and sweating. Now that advice of using the cold rinse made perfect sense for healthy hair.