13-Dec-2012 Contributed by: *Guest Contributor James Nisi
Hydrotherapy, while frequently used in a rehabilitative manner, is an underutilized form of therapy in the general population. This is unfortunate, because there are a range of benefits that can be gained!

Hydrotherapy is basically exercise therapy in water. It is conducted in a heated pool, where the hydrostatic pressure and warmth cause temporary physiological changes. The pressure of water is 830 times greater than air pressure. This increase in pressure surrounding the body causes an increase in the amount of blood that is pumped around your body by your heart with each beat and increases the amount of blood that is returned to the heart after circulating your body, which results in a decreased heart rate, meaning your heart doesn’t have to work as hard! The warmth also causes all your blood vessels throughout your body to expand, also improving blood circulation.

This increased efficiency of your heart and improved blood circulation is extremely therapeutic, with the feeling experienced akin to being ready to fall asleep after a hard day’s work. It’s a great way to relax and de-stress, even if you just simply sit there!

The increase in blood circulation, and consequent increased blood supply to the body, has a wide array of physical benefits as well. It loosens tense, tight muscles, encouraging them to relax. It increases the elimination of waste and by products in the blood and body tissues such as muscles and organs, therefore improving organ and tissue function. Your skin cells are also hydrated, leaving you with improved skin tone. Essentially, it assists in detoxifying your body!
The natural buoyancy of the water eliminates stress put on your joints, providing a steady progression for those new to exercise. It is also ideal for people returning from injury or individuals with common problems, such as sciatica and osteoporosis, which may affect full weight-bearing activities. Alternatively, you may just feel like mixing up your exercise regime or seeking out the therapeutic benefits previously mentioned.

What exercises could you possibly do in water though? The answer is close to almost everything you can do on dry land. The high pressure of the water creates its own resistance, therefore you can be sure you’ll be getting a good workout whether you do water walking/running, water kicking or bicep curls (that’s right, water specific equipment has been invented!). Hydrotherapy is also great for improving balance and core stabilization! Use your imagination when coming up with new exercises, and you’ll open up a whole other method of exercising!

James Nisi is a 21 year old self-proclaimed athlete and full-time great guy (again, self-proclaimed). From Melbourne, Australia. Already qualified as an Exercise Scientist, he is close to completing his Masters of Exercise Physiology. Tries not to take life too seriously, fails when it comes to health and exercise. Also: dog-lover, movie-buff, gym-goer, food connoisseur, chef, wannabe traveler.

Twitter: @Nisi_06
Health, Exercise, Weight-loss, Natural Remedies
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