Have you ever wished that there was a medicine which would heal any sickness you might have? A medicine which if you took it internally or applied it to the body surface would restore that lost energy and well being? Perhaps no other remedy has so stimulated people in their searching as water and its uses.
Water is an absolute necessity inside the body. Each of our more than 100 trillion cells has to have water day in and day out or it will dehydrate and die, just like the houseplant your neighbor forgot to water while you were on vacation. On the other hand, just as .a plant can either just barely survive on just enough water, or grow luxuriantly on an adequate supply, so depending on our water intake, our cells can either just barely survive, or function at top efficiency. Especially do our kidneys suffer when water intake is curtailed. By the way, a healthy adult needs at least three pints of water each day in order to properly flush out the body’s waste. Inadequate water can also cause the kidneys to raise a person’s blood pressure causing hypertension. In this case, all a person needs to do is drink plenty of water and his blood pressure will come back down.
HYDROTHERAPY: WATER ON THE OUTSIDE
The external use of water for both the sustenance and rejuvenation of health is one of the oldest remedies known. The Scriptures contain a number of accounts of healing in which water was involved:, and down through the centuries since Roman times, we find different baths were prescribed by physicians for various ailments with hospitals often being built near natural mineral springs, giving rise to what is known today as a spa, which literally means “mineral spring.” During the later 1800’s Wilhelm Wintermitz of Vienna and J.J. Kellogg, one of his pupils, established hydrotherapy as a scientifically applied and effective medicine. In Battle Creek, Michigan, Kellogg expanded the use of hydrotherapy; a core of nurses was trained in its skillful application, and remarkable results were achieved.
If hydrotherapy was so incredibly successful back then, why doesn’t it enjoy a wide usage now? With the introduction of many new drug medications for the treatment of infectious diseases, degenerative disorders, and emotional disturbances, it was found that it was much simpler, easier, and seemingly more effective to administer these agents than to skillfully administer laborious and time-consuming treatments which often required much patience when it came to achieving results. But, in the long run, are drugs really as safe and effective as hydrotherapy? Is its reduced use really justified, and is it outdated in the field of medicine? Are we in a safe position to largely discard the oldest medicine known? Before we answer this, let’s learn a few basic things about water and how it works.
Cold water applied appropriately to the skin of a fevered patient can withdraw heat from the body as a whole. Controlled steam, such as that given off by moist hot packs, can contribute heat.
SOME WATER BASICS
One reason water is so useful is because it can hold and transport a tremendous amount of heat. For this reason, it is extremely valuable to the body for heating and cooling the skin of different areas, and as a result of nerve reactions, can also be used to treat internal organs by affecting the blood flow to them. Heat, which may be applied by fomentations, causes dilation or enlargement of the blood vessels of the area it is applied to. This in turn increases the blood circulation inside the specific internal organs linked to that area by the nerves, which cause the blood vessels inside these organs to also enlarge, dramatically increasing the blood supply to it with a generous supply of germ fighting white blood cells, nutrients, and oxygen. Then ice or cold water applied right afterward can constrict the vessels in the skin causing the nerves to constrict the vessels in those organs, squeezing out all that blood loaded with disease and waste so it can go scooting back to the heart and lungs to be cleansed and revived.
Ever so many techniques have been devised and equipment invented, to optimally apply water in hydrotherapy treatments. There are specific procedures such as hot baths, cooling sponge applications, contrast baths, wet sheet packs, steam inhalations, compresses, douche massage, and pool therapy for rehabilitation. Naturally, any procedure inducing physiological changes in body processes must be used with caution appropriate to the condition of the patient.
Certainly we can see that water, the oldest remedy known to man, is still scientific and up to date. It may be used for healing in elaborate and sophisticated ways, or simple treatments may be effectively given in the most primitive of settings. Far from being discarded, this bounty of Nature may still be used with success.
This article was adapted fromWildwood’s Health & Healing magazine.