I have been enjoying my hydrotherapy class this trimester. Initially, I thought that hydrotherapy would involve water therapies. Although this can be true, hydrotherapy is more accurately about the thermal properties that water possesses. This is where the therapeutic effects stem from.
We can utilize the thermal properties of water in various locations of the body. For example, we can consider an area that has both superficial and deep arteries. Applying cold water to a superficial artery results in its constriction and blood flow decreases. This is a reaction to cold that one might naturally expect. However, it gets interesting when we consider what might happen to the deep artery. The deep artery dilates and blood flow increases. Knowing how this principle works can be useful if we want to, for example, increase the blood flow to the viscera (thus optimizing physiological function).
I have learned about indications and contraindications to different types of hydrotherapies, such as constitutional hydrotherapy, Russian steam cabinet, hyperthermia baths, infrared sauna therapy, cold mitten friction, fomentations, and various contrast therapies. I have also learned about the effects of various stages of therapy (i.e. cooling, neutral, heating, sweating) and when each stage is indicated.
My favorite part about hydrotherapy class is lab. When we learned about contrast therapies like constitutional hydrotherapy, we carried out these treatments on each other in lab that same week. This way, I learned a great deal about the therapy in both doctor and patient roles.
In the next couple of weeks, I will practice the constitutional hydrotherapy procedure to prepare for the final practical exam. This therapy is often carried out at the student clinic, so it is essential that I can perform it effectively.