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WATER THERAPY : How Does it Help the Body?

There is a good reason why they say water is life, in fact, a bunch of good reasons. Water is the core of human

existence, it is indispensable and essential for survival (Why do you think the earth is made up of about 71% of water).

Water does more than quench our thirst, it also nourishes and maintains our body as well.

This colorless liquid does wonders for our body and humans have continued to tap into its body-boosting benefits.

Water is now being used as a form of complementary therapy for a number of ailments. The process of using water to alleviate certain health conditions and keep the body in top form is known as Water therapy or hydrotherapy.

Water therapy is of different types. Keep on reading to explore some of these therapies and their

benefits to health and well-being.

JAPANESE WATER THERAPY

Japanese water therapy, like the name implies, is a practice that evolved from Japan that is used in Japanese

holistic medicine. It involves drinking warm water on an empty stomach upon waking to promote digestive health

and supposedly treat a number of ailments including diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, and constipation.

This therapy greatly endorsed by its advocates who believe that drinking cold water is harmful to health.

According to this school of thought, cold water can solidify fats and oil in the gut, which can obstruct digestion.

The therapy follows a regimen that is detailed below:

  • Four or five glasses of room temperature or warm water (about 160ml) to be taken as soon as you wake for the day, on an empty stomach and without brushing your teeth. Followed by a 45 minutes wait before breakfast.
  • Eat all meals for 15 minutes and wait for another 2 hours before consuming any other food or drink.

The duration for carrying out this regime varies according to the ailment being treated. For high blood pressure,

treatment duration is 30 days, for constipation; 10 days, For type 2 diabetes; 30 days, and for Cancer; 180 days.

The whole point of Japanese water therapy is to increase water intake based on timely intervals. Good hydration,

without a doubt, is beneficial to the body and may help with the symptoms of constipation and high blood

pressure, but there is no scientific justification as to its effectiveness in treating or curing type 2 diabetes and

cancer. The therapy is said to cleanse the gut and promote gut health, but water has a relatively small impact on

gut bacteria compared to other factors like a good diet. Scientific research has also debunked the claim that cold

water is damaging to health. The only downside to taking cold water is a reduction in gastrointestinal temperature

and a slight increase in blood pressure in some people. But taking cold water will not solidify fats or oil and

neither will it cause blockage in your gut.

On the bright side, though, increasing water intake can be beneficial to health in other ways. Drinking lots of

water can:

WARM WATER THERAPY

Warm water therapy basically entails drinking or using hot/warm water to promote good health. Drinking warm

water can keep the body hydrated and improve digestion. Adherents of this form of water therapy usually drink

warm/hot water as soon as they wake or just before they go to bed to fully maximize its effects. The water

shouldn’t be so that it scalds the tongue. A temperature between 120°F and 140°F is recommended. Some

health benefits of warm water therapy include:

  • Aids easy digestion: Warm water can serve as a lubricant to propel the efficient movement of food waste. It also keeps the intestines and other digestive organs well hydrated, which makes for better functioning.
  • Can alleviate symptoms of constipation: Warm water can enable the contraction of the intestines, thereby allowing trapped waste to be ejected out of the body.
  • Improves body circulation: A warm bath is not only soothing and relaxing but can aid proper blood circulation in the body. It causes the expansion of the arteries and veins which equates to better blood circulation. A warm bath can also be an associative treatment for insomnia, as it is known to induce sleep in some people. Drinking warm water too can also have these effects in the body.
  • Can soothe pain and aches: Drinking warm water is actually a good remedy for muscle and menstrual-related pains. It relaxes constricted abdominal muscles to relieve spasms and cramps. The heat from water also has a relaxing effect on the body.
  • Can help with achalasia: Achalasia is a painful condition that is characterized by difficulty swallowing and the sensation of food being stuck in the throat. It occurs when the esophagus finds it difficult to transport food to the stomach. Warm water can help people with this condition digest food more easily, even though researchers aren’t obvious on how this works.
  • Just like regular water, warm or hot water also keeps you hydrated which is essential to proper body function.

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COLD WATER THERAPY

Aside from keeping the body hydrated, drinking cold water has limited benefits and may aggravate certain health

conditions like flu, migraines, and achalasia. But there isn’t enough scientific research to prove that it is as

harmful as we make it out to be. However, immersing your body in cold water or taking cold showers can be

quiet beneficial to health. This form of water therapy known as cold water therapy, cold water immersion

therapy, or cryotherapy can help alleviate the symptoms of a number of health conditions.

The therapy is not a known treatment for any medical condition, but it can act as a “symptom relief” and improve

well being.  Cold therapy impacts the body’s immune, circulatory, lymphatic, and digestive systems. Coldwater

therapy helps reduces muscle inflammation caused by muscle strain. It helps improve mood and feelings of

well-being, it increases the body’s metabolism by about 16% which can aid weight loss. Cold showers have even

been shown to boost immunity and ward off infections. One research found that taking cold showers can make

the body develop immunity against certain types of cancer.

Athletes have been using cold water immersion therapy by soaking in an ice bath for a few minutes to facilitate

muscle recovery after an activity, although there is little to no scientific evidence to prove the efficacy of this.

However, recent research shows that cold water supports the healing of sports injury by lowering the body

temperature of the affected area to enable the circulation of warm, fresh, and oxygenated blood to the site of

injury.

You can take a cold shower by lowering the water temperature to about 70°F and below and staying underneath

for about two or three minutes or even longer. There is also a cryotherapy device being marketed to help ease

pain, injury and inflammation called a circulating cold water therapy system. However, there is insufficient

scientific evidence to support its use.

 

 

SALTWATER THERAPY

Saltwater therapy or halotherapy is fast becoming a popular practice in many beauty spas. It involves floating in

about 8-10 inches of saltwater for an hour in a small, dark enclosed room. This may actually sound creepy and

intimidating, but spa owners swear to its stress alleviating and health benefits.

It will appear that this practice first came into existence in 1954 when an American neuroscientist invented a tank

called a sensory deprivation tank to explore the activity of consciousness when there are no external stimuli. This

research evolved into salt tanks that are being used for float therapy today. The water in this tank is heated to a

skin-friendly temperature and filled with a large quantity of Epsom salt to provide buoyancy.

During this therapy, a person gets into the tank naked and the lid is closed. Once they are within the tank, they

will lose the sense of all outside stimuli such as sight, sound, and gravity. The basic idea is for the brain to

assume a state of complete relaxation without being hindered by outside stimuli. Perhaps, this is why in

psychology, it is used for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Therapy (REST).

These sensory deprivation tanks can be easily spotted worldwide in high-end spas and float centers that offer

float therapy. It will appear that floating in salt tanks have many health and mental benefits. For one, a research

paper found that floating in a sensory deprivation tank can enhance creativity by improving imagination and

intuition. It has also been found to speed up muscle and psychological recovery in athletes after strenuous

activity. Other benefits include :

  • Float therapy when used for REST has been found to reduce anxiety symptoms and improve mood in people suffering from stress and anxiety disorders.
  • It can relieve pain and is effective in treating tension headaches, and stress associated pain.
  • It has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health through deep relaxation that decreases cortisol levels and induces sleep.

However, these tanks may cause hallucinations and psychotic-like disturbances. If you are prone to hallucinations, you should tread with caution when trying out float therapy.

WATER THERAPY EXERCISES

Water therapy exercises consist of a number of exercises that are carried out in a pool that may be projected to

provide relief for low back pain or neck pain. They also serve as strength and muscle conditioning exercises. It is

especially good for people suffering from osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis, and muscle strain. The buoyancy,

viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure of the water make it a convenient environment to carry out exercises. The

buoyancy of the aquatic environment helps to provide extra support for the muscles and joints, which translates

to longer exercise time and more benefits.

 

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Water exercises provide the same benefits as land exercises and are particularly helpful for people who can’t

stand the latter due to pain or certain conditions such as pregnant women, people with fibromyalgia, or people

with balance problems. However, exercising in water can prove to be more challenging than on land because it

has a higher resistance than air. But this works to the person’s advantage as the heavier the resistance, the more

the muscles will work, and the more the number of calories burned. Examples of pool exercises include arm lifts,

jumping Jacks, leg kicks, leg shoots, and water walking.

IN SUMMARY……

  • Water therapy is generally good for health and well-being
  • There are several forms of water therapy; Japanese water therapy, warm water therapy, cold water therapy, and salt or float water therapy.
  • Japanese water therapy is touted to treat ailments like cancer and type 2 diabetes, but there is no scientific evidence to support this
  • Warm water therapy can help improve digestion, soothe muscle pain, and provide relief for achalasia.
  • Taking cold showers can improve blood circulation, improve mood and boost the body’s metabolism
  • Floating in tanks filled with saltwater called sensory deprivation tanks can enhance creativity, alleviate symptoms of anxiety, relieve pain, and improve cardiovascular health.
  • Water-based exercises can help relieve pain and strengthen muscles in people suffering from osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and other muscle issues.

 

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