Bath therapy is an alternative mode of treatment, which is valued for its remedial properties. Bathing or bath therapy was thought to be a useful measure of health maintenance and disease prevention since ages.
Water has always been considered as an important means of cleansing, treating and preventing many ailments. Water at different temperatures has different effects on human body. Water helps in improving circulation, digestion and other important body processes. It also helps in relaxation of body muscles and aids in removing toxins from the body.
Bath therapy is given in different forms. Water is used at varying temperatures like cold, neutral and hot, ranging from 10 degrees Celsius to 45 degree Celsius. Water can be harmful beyond this range of temperatures and hence this therapeutic range of temperature should be maintained.
There are different types of bath therapy and each of them have specifications as regards the temperature of water, the duration of the treatment and instructions related to meals.
Types of bath therapy
The different types of procedures used in bath therapy are:
- Cold compress
A local application of cloth immersed in cold water or ice. It helps in reliving inflammation of the local area and also the internal organs. This is useful in relieving pain and swelling due to inflammation or injury. It can be applied over the eyes to relive eye strain or inflammation.
- Full wet sheet
The entire body is wrapped in a wet sheet and then in a dry covering. Specific instructions are followed regarding the process of treatment. The body sweats profusely and needs to be monitored continuously.
- Spinal bath
A bath treatment specially designed to provide relief to the back. It has a specially designed tub where the patient is placed to provide support to the back and head. Depending on the temperature of the spinal bath, it can be a soothing treatment and can be used to relive complaints of the mind or it can also be used to stimulate the nervous system and relax the back muscles.
- Foot bath
Foot or leg is immersed in a tub of water at specific temperature. There are hot as well as cold foot baths.
- Steam bath
Patient is exposed to steam and is allowed to sweat profusely.
- Immersion bath
This is a complete bath by immersing the entire body in a bath tub, which is set at specific temperature. There are cold immersion baths also. Epsom salt bath is another way of bath in which water and Epsom salt are mixed in fixed proportions.
Bath therapy is useful in conditions like digestive problems like indigestion, hyperacidity, constipation, diarrhea or gastritis. It can also be helpful in treating fever, pleurisy, cough, bronchitis and similar respiratory complaints. It also provides relief in backache, spinal problems, sciatica, rheumatism, etc.