Water is well known as a source of life. Without it many living things including human being will die. But not many people know that it can be used to heal and ease a variety of ailments. It may be used in a number of different ways. The healing properties of water have been recognized since ancient times, notably by the Greek, Roman and Turkish civilizations.
You most probably are aware that a hot bath can relax the body, relieving muscle aches and stiffness. Hot water or steam causes blood vessels to dilate, opens skin pores and stimulates perspiration, relaxes limbs and muscles. Where as a cold bath or shower acts in the opposite way and is refreshing and invigorating, especially on a hot humid day. It causes blood vessels in the skin to constrict and blood is diverted to internal tissues and organs to maintain the core temperature of the body.
A hot bath is commonly used to ease muscle and joint pains and inflammation. Various substances such as seaweed extract can be added to the water to help in healing of some skin conditions or minor wounds. Very often after child-birth, frequent bathing in warm water added with mild antiseptic ca help to heal skin tears.
Spending 5 minutes immersing in a hot bath with temperature between 98 degrees F and 104 degrees F is very useful for muscle relaxation. You may spend as long as 10 minutes in it as long as you do not feel weak or dizzy. It is important to realize that a brief hot bath has quite a different effect from a long one. In fact there are no additional benefits by prolonging a hot bath. Immersion in hot water acts not only on the surface nerves but also on the autonomic nervous system as well as hormone-producing glands, particularly the adrenals, which becomes less active. Therefore do not stay too long immersing in a hot bath as the effect can go the opposite way.
Cold baths are used mainly to improve blood flow to internal tissues and organs and to reduce swellings. You may sit for a short while in shallow cold water and have some splashes of water to your exposed skin. Swelling of inflamed, painful parts can be reduced by immersing them in cold water. But remember not to allow yourself to become chilled. This sort of treatment is not suitable for persons who cannot dry themselves rapidly with a warm towel. It is also not advisable for people with serious conditions or the elderly or the very young.
The above are just two common ways of using water for healing. In fact there are more ways than these such as steam bath, sitz bath and neutral bath. So now you understand that a simple hot or cold bath does have its healing capabilities and using it correctly will put you in better health.