The Gilead Institute of America

Simple Hydrotherapy Applications

Hydrotherapy is a wonderful science that has been used since ancient times. In certain ancient cultures, the use of various baths was their main method of treatment of disease. Today hydrotherapy is still a useful and effective approach for assisting the body to heal itself.

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat disease. (However it should not replace the services of a competent physician when needed.) It causes the body to react in ways that enhances its own healing mechanisms. These reactions include increased circulation with tissues receiving more oxygen and nutrients and enhanced removal of wastes, increased number and movement of white blood cells which means a greater fighting capacity of the immune system, the nervous system and organs function with increased efficiency and vitality, plus various other benefits are obtained. We will look at just three hydrotherapy applications that you can start using today. They are simple, yet very effective.
Daily Cool-Cold Shower: This is an application that everyone should incorporate into their daily routine. By doing so you will probably notice increased resistance to colds and flues, increased general vigor and muscle tone, and certain ailments may disappear. 

Take a warm shower as you normally do in the morning (or evening), and make sure you feel nice and warm. When you finish washing yourself, turn the shower toward cold. You do not need to turn the warm water off entirely, but you need to feel a definite and fairly dramatic change in water temperature. As you feel the cold water hitting your skin, take your washcloth and rub your skin  
briskly where the water is hitting you. Move around so that the stream of water can hit against the different areas of your body and continue to rub briskly where it is hitting you. Continue to do this for 30 to 180 seconds. The colder the water the shorter the time you need to remain in the cold shower, the less cool the water the longer you will need to stay in.

 When you finish, turn off the water and briskly rub dry with your bath towel. You will be pleasantly surprised that the air outside the shower doesn't feel so cold anymore. When you first start doing this daily application you may not be able to tolerate turning the water very cold, but as the days go by you will find that you can gradually turn it cooler and thus your body will give a greater reaction.
Hot Foot Bath: This is a wonderful application that feels good and has many different uses. It is good for relaxing, helping the body to fight colds and flues, relieving headaches and head and chest congestion, warming a chilled person, and reducing fatigue  and pain. 

Get one foot tub (a dishpan, clothes tub, or even a household trash container can work) that you can comfortably fit both feet into and so the water can at least cover your ankles, one pitcher or teakettle of very hot water, one bowl of very cold water, one washcloth, and one bath towel. Fill the tub 2/3 to 3/4 full with water that is quite warm but not too hot. Place it in front of where you will sit (you may want to put some newspaper down first to protect the floor from accidental water spills), and have all the items listed above accessible. Take off your shoes and socks and put your feet in the warm water. As the water cools off, pull your feet to one side of the tub or take them out and add some hot water taking care to not burn the feet. As you start to feel warm or if you have congestion in your head, wet the washcloth with the cold water in the bowl, wring it out so it is not dripping, and apply to your forehead. Continue adding hot water to your foot tub as needed to keep the water as warm as you can comfortably tolerate, and re-wet the washcloth as needed to keep it cool. Continue with the bath for at least 20 to 60 minutes. When you are ready to finish, remove the washcloth from your head, lift both feet above the warm water and pour the bowl of cold water over them, covering all surfaces as best you can. Dry your feet, including between the toes, very thoroughly with your bath towel. Now rest for the next 30 to 60 minutes. CAUTION: Never use this treatment on a diabetic or a person with poor circulation in their feet or lower legs. 

 Cold Mitten Friction: You can give a cold mitten friction to yourself, but this application is easier for one person to administer it to another. The friction feels wonderful and has many benefits; it increases functioning of internal organs, relieves muscle soreness and achy-ness, increases resistance to colds and infections, increases white blood cell activity, helps with poor circulation, tobacco and drugs withdrawal, and enhances energy and endurance.

Get a bowl of cold water, one washcloth, and one bath towel. Mentally divide the body into sections: right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, back, etc. Have the person covered with a sheet or blanket. Wet the washcloth in the cold water and squeeze out excess water. Grab one corner of the washcloth under your right thumb (left if left-handed). Wrap the cloth around your hand as shown in the illustration above. Take the free part of the cloth hanging down from your hand, fold it toward the palm of your hand, and tuck it under the edge of the cloth crossing over the palm of your hand. Uncover one section of the body (such as the right arm). Beginning at the hand start to rub the skin briskly in an up and down motion. Proceed up the arm, rubbing all areas of the skin. Occasionally dip your cloth in the cold water and squeeze out excess water. The rubbing should be firm, but not so firm that it hurts; however, the skin should turn pink.

When you finish with one body section, dry it thoroughly with the towel and cover. Proceed to the next body section, repeating the above directions, until all body sections are done. When dealing with the chest and abdomen, rub carefully as the skin will be much more tender in these areas.