At-home constitutional hydrotherapy

Mini Blog –  At-Home Constitutional Hydrotherapy

It’s that time of year when everybody starts getting sick. You may be wondering what you can do so that YOU or your family don’t get sick! (Or, how to get over being sick quicker) One nifty naturopathic therapy is called Constitutional Hydrotherapy. Although there are some techy ways to boost this therapy, an at-home constitutional hydrotherapy treatment can be very effective at giving your immune system that extra push it needs to be healthy!

What is Constitutional Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is the use of water for therapeutic healing and promotion of optimal health. Of all the forms of hydrotherapy (there are so many, a full Blog Post… or multiple… is required to cover the different forms), constitutional hydrotherapy has the broadest applications to promote health. In its most basic explanation, constitution hydrotherapy is the intentional application of hot and cold water to the in order to activate the immune system, blood flow, cellular activity, and digestion.

When You Should Use It? (Indications)

It can be used for prevention or as an acute treatment for colds and flus, constipation, abdominal aches and pains, heartburn (GERD), menstrual cramps, bronchitis, depression, arthritis, lymph congestion… the list goes on.

When You Should NOT Use It? (Contraindications)

At-home constitutional hydrotherapy is not recommended on patients with asthma, acute bladder infections, difficulty sensing hot or cold, or oral temperatures <97 deg F. Additionally, you should always consult your doctor before using at-home constitutional hydrotherapy for chronic conditions.

How to Perform At-Home Constitutional Hydrotherapy

What you will need:

2 Tubs or basins for water
3 bath sized towels (thin towels are less messy, if you have them)
2 Blankets
1 Flat Sheet
Ice and water
Tea Kettle or Microwave (a way to make hot wet towels)
A helper

Directions:

  1. Spread 2 blankets lengthwise on a bed with a sheet over them. The person to be treated should lie on their back, unclothed from the hips up.
  2. Thoroughly wring out 2 towels in hot water and place onto the chest and abdomen of the person being treated. Wrap the sheet and blankets tightly around them and leave in place for 5 minutes.
    1. Variation: Dampen and wring out 2 towels. Place them in microwave until almost too hot to the touch – watch them carefully.
  3. Wring out one towel in ice-cold water. Replace the towels on their chest and abdomen with the hot towel.  Place the cold towel on the chest and abdomen of the person being treated.
  4. Again, wrap the sheet and blankets tightly around them and leave in place for at least 10 minutes.
  5. You may sleep, use visualization, or meditation during this time.  Remove the towel when it is warm to the touch.
  6. Repeat this procedure with the person lying on their stomach and apply towels to their back.

 

Variation for Single-Person At-Home Constitutional Hydrotherapy

What you will need:
Shower with hot water
1 large cotton T-shirt
2 Blankets
1 Flat Sheet
Easy and quick access to a freezer

Directions:

  1. Dampen a T-shirt in the sink and wring out the excess water. Put this T-Shirt into the freezer.
  2. Set up your bed. Spread 2 blankets lengthwise on a bed with a sheet over them.
  3. Take a warm shower as usual. While in the shower, unclothed, turn the water to very warm. The water should be tolerable for 5 mins without feeling it will burn you.
  4. When you hop out of the shower, carefully, but quickly go get the very cold T-shirt from the freezer and put it on. Nothing should be worn under the T-shirt, we want direct contact to the skin.
  5. After pulling the T-shirt on, lay on top of your two blankets and sheet. Roll yourself into a burrito, snuggled tightly within the sheet and blankets. You should be fully wrapped from neck to toes.
  6. Remain in your burrito state until the T-shirt is warm to the touch. You may sleep, use visualization, or meditation during this time.

 

Frequency

You may perform At-Home Constitutional Hydrotherapy as often as you’d like. In an acute sickness, once ever 2-3 days is probably sufficient.

Caution:

  • Avoid becoming chilled. If feeling chilly, add more blankets or place a hot water bottle or other heat source over the feet.
  • Hot towels should not burn the person being treated. Test the temperature on the forearm before apply to large surface area.

As always, check with your doctor before self-treating any condition, if you are not getting better or if your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of treatments.

For more tips on how to prevent getting this year’s cold or flu, check out my other Blog Post!

Dr. Lexie Ching
Naturopathic Doctor Bend
(541) 797-0167
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Resources

Boyle, Wade, ND, and Saine, André, ND. Lectures in Naturopathic Hydrotherapy. Buckeye Naturopathic Press; 1988.

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