Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the application of water to promote healing. All three forms of water (liquid, steam, ice) can be used therapeutically.
Advantages to hydrotherapy are:
- It is almost always available.
- It is easy to learn and perform.
- It is painless and has no ill side effects.
- It is inexpensive and can be done at home or at the gym.
The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood. This is important because blood delivers nutrients to and removes wastes from tissues and organs. If circulation is poor or slow, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs. By improving the quality of blood, more nutrients are available for cells to use and toxins are managed more efficiently.
General therapeutic uses of hydrotherapy include:
- Pain and swelling of injuries
- Elimination of toxins
- Improve immune function
Hydrotherapy treatments include the following:
Baths & Showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress, and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating. A rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.
Hot Foot Bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10 – 30 minutes. It is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. Indications for use are foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.
The compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet. When the feet are treated, it is also known as warming socks or wet socks treatment.
Contraindications for Compress
Skin conditions irritated by moisture.
Castor Oil Pack
Castor oil has been used therapeutically for hundreds of years, both internally and externally. Castor oil applied topically has many beneficial effects and can be used for almost any malady. The castor oil pack is a simple procedure, yet it can produce wonderful results. Physiological effects of the castor oil pack include, but are not limited to: stimulating the liver, increasing eliminations, relieving pain, increasing lymphatic circulation, improving gastrointestinal function, increasing relaxation, and reducing inflammation.
You can buy castor oil at most any pharmacy or grocery store. Apply liberally to the area to be treated, such as the abdomen. Place a flannel fabric or tshirt (something you don’t mind gettin oily) over the area and place a hot water bottle or other heating device over the fabric. This is a great thing to do just before bed, as the heated abdomen is very relaxing!
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Acupressure is an alternative bodywork therapy where pressure is applied to specific points located along the meridian energy channels and is practiced by an oriental medical professional, or a specialized massage practitioner, as used for example in Shiatsu. The rewards are numerous; alleviating many physical and mental symptoms.
This alternative treatment is centered around 12 meridians containing 365 different points. The meridians are related to specific organs and regions of the body. The energy flow, or Qi, through the meridians controls blood flow. Acupressure is practiced by applying pressure to a point, either by fingers, knuckles, palms, elbows, or with special devices. Pressure should be applied to a point for 15 to 30 seconds when you are in a relaxed state.
A common physical ailment that can be addressed through acupressure is back and neck tension. Since so many suffer from this, here are a few specific points for spinal tension that can be administered for self-care. Massage these points one at a time at least once a day for a few weeks to see results. Some tenderness or a slight twinge is a common response.
Acupoint 17- are two points located on the top of the shoulder halfway between the neck and spine that run adjacent each other (see below).
Acupoint 27- are two points located on the upper trapezius, back side closer to the arm than the spine (see below).
Acupoint 24- are two points located just below the eyebrows (see below).
Acupressure is an interesting practice that has been used for centuries in China, and complimentary practices are used throughout Asia. Make sure to consult a specialist for specific ailments and treatment. These point locations were found at http://onlineartdirector.com/pointfinder/, an online guide to acupressure points.
Health News, Massage
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Janice Eng returns to the Seattle Athletic Club Downtown massage team! For those of you who have not been at the club for over two decades, let me introduce Janice Eng. Janice started here when the club first opened in 1982 and was the person responsible for hiring our infamous Julie Bacon on board as well.
Janice has been in the field of bodywork for many years – graduating from the Brenneke School of Massage class of 1980 and receiving a BS from Bastyr in 2001. Janice has gone on to study many modalities of wellness including counseling, neurolinguistics as well as non-violent communication. She also teaches communication skills in prisons and as workshops to those who are interested.
The style of massage that Janice currently provides is very relaxing. She has many skills in the energetic realm of bodywork such as; Reki, Body Talk and Thought Field Therapy. Janice also gives a very nurturing Swedish relaxation style of massage.
Janice is available Sundays 10:00am – 2:00pm and Mondays 11:00am – 3:00pm. To book an appointment with Janice please call the front desk at 206-443-1111 or access her schedule through the member reservation link at www.sacdt.com.
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Many of us utilize the warmth of a sauna for relaxation, to sweat out an over indulgence the night before or for rehab after a strenuous exercise adventure; but what does the sauna really do for your body? Here are a couple of facts about that favorite spot in the locker rooms. (Many of the sauna therapeutic trials used a regular schedule of at least 5 days a week and often daily for one to three months, then several times a week for extended periods)
- The sauna’s benefits can be used by the aged and even infants over 3 months (for short sessions <3 min)
It increases your metabolism and pulse rates; thus increasing blood vessel flexibility and increases circulation to the extremities.
- Some studies suggest that saunas reduce the incidence of the common cold and can temporarily relieve their symptoms
- Saunas have been shown to help with depression and anxiety disorders
- It can improve endurance sports performance through the increase in red blood cell production, decreases systolic blood pressure and increases exercise tolerance.
- Saunas have been shown to help with chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome
The sauna has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase endorphins, but can increase levels of cortisol hormones.
- Regular sauna combines with exercise has shown to efficiently clear organic chemicals, solvents, drugs, pharmaceuticals and heavy metals from the body.
If you do decide to use the sauna, start gradually. Stay in only as long as you are comfortable, increasing the time with each visit. Remember that a sauna can elevate your core temperature, and should be used after clearance of your physician if you are child or older person who has heart disease or seizure disorders and those who use alcohol or cocaine are especially vulnerable.
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Sports massage combines techniques including deep tissue, Swedish and therapeutic massage. It reduces muscle and joint tension in the legs, hips feet as well as shoulders and neck- the entire body. Sports massage is a way to flush out the lactic acid that’s produced when we run or repeatedly use our muscles. This waste can build up and cause soreness as time goes by. Removing it speeds up recovery and increases flexibility, and that can improve our performance and just make us move relaxed and happy. Sports massage can be a very effective treatment, along with strength training, stretching and nutrition, for runners with aches and pains.
A runner’s world article on sports massage from August 2004 gives examples of athletes who benefit from this treatment. A 49 year old was training for her 49th marathon, which would put her on target to reach 50 marathons by the age 50. “If it weren’t for massage, I wouldn’t be able to do this.” Says Loretta Ulibarri, a runner form Denver. “I’ve had a lot of inflammation problems and ongoing soreness that interfered with my training. Ten years ago, I started getting a sports massage every 3 weeks, and since then, I’ve been injury-free and able to train year round.”
Dave Deigan is a runner from Sonoma, California who puts in 25 miles a week, and gets massage every other Thursday. “Since I Started getting massages 5 years ago, the chronic tightness in my calves has disappeared, and I’m not getting injured.” This has support in the medical community, as well. Lewis G. says “as far as injuries go, massage is the icing on the cake. Massage can supplement physical therapy as an effective injury treatment.”
When should on get massage? Therapists often recommend a weekly or bi weekly session, but every athlete is different. For some, once a month or six weeks is sufficient. When the legs feel tired or heavy or if there is inflammation, it is time to see a massage therapist. After a hard work out or a race, schedule an appointment 24-36 hours later. An ice bath soon after resting for a day or two, your body will be more then ready for a sports massage.
If you have any questions about massage for runners, ask any of the therapists at the Seattle Athletic Club, And weather you need a maintenance session, a post-race massage or injury treatment, we are available to help.
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