By Life Positive October 1998 You may have taken the pills, tried the diets and exercises. Now invoke the miraculous healing power of water DRINKING WATER Drinking large quantities of water daily helps the blood carry nutritive parts of the digested food to relevant parts of the body. It also increases blood and lymph circulation and helps glands function normally. Drinking water has a bath-like effect on the internal organs and helps purify and dilute the blood. It also increases the output of urine by activating the kidneys, and assists waste removal. Specific conditions can be treated by the right intake of water. Those suffering from hydrops (an abnormal collection of watery fluid in some parts of the body) should drink two to three liters of water at a go in the morning and evening and none during the day. This increases the volume of urine and helps reduce the volume of accumulated fluid. To compensate for the water lost through evaporation during fever, a glass of water every hour helps COLD WATER Cold water application dilates blood vessels of the skin, increases its redness and decreases pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure. Cold water can be applied on the skin directly, as compress or ice. HOT WATER Hot water acts as a sedative on the sensory and motor nerves and relieves pains, cramps and spasms. Hot water application can raise local temperatures, metabolic rate and oxygen consumption, thus increasing blood volume and pulse rate. It can be applied by fomentation, as hot compress or vapor. WATER PACKS These are prepared by soaking several layers of cotton cloth or muslin in either hot or cold water. Throat pack: Effective for hoarseness of voice, laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, irritation of throat, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Chest pack: Recommended for lung disorders such as emphysema (wherein lung tissues lose their elasticity and gases decrease), pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs resulting in labored breathing and acute pain), pneumonia, bronchitis and asthma. Chest packs should be used for at least an hour on a daily basis. Abdominal pack: This pack is recommended for flatulence, indigestion, acidity, ulcers, jaundice and hepatitis. Girdle pack: A wet girdle pack is recommended for diseases of the urinary bladder and uterus such as abnormal menstruation, retention of urine and inactivity of the urinary tract. Joint pack: A joint pack helps arthritis, gout, rheumatism, muscle pains and similar disorders. Full wet sheet pack: The entire body is wrapped in a wet cloth, immersed or soaked in cold water, and covered with a blanket. To be used for an hour, the pack should be followed with a cold towel wipe or a cold shower. It helps reduce congestion in internal organs and increases blood circulation. Those sensitive to cold, however, should avoid it. Cooling pack: This is prepared by wrapping ice cubes in a towel or filling a rubber bag with ice. Immersing the affected part in ice-cold water for 10-12 minutes or rubbing it with an ice cube also helps. A cooling pack prevents extra blood circulation to inflamed sprains and sport injuries. WATER BATHS Cold immersion bath: Given at a temperature of 10°-18°C for a few seconds, cold immersion bath energizes the body, increases metabolic rate and circulation of body fluids. A warm water application must be had after the bath. Hot immersion bath: Given at a temperature of 40°-45°C for a maximum of 20 minutes, hot bath is recommended for instant relief from colic pains, muscle and joint pains. Deep immersion bath: This bath is effective if combined with massage, exercise or a douche. Recommended for arthritis, poliomyelitis and wasting of muscles. Sitz bath: Sitz or hip bath can be cold, hot or neutral. The hip region is immersed in water in a tub. Sitz bath activates the internal organs of the abdomen and pelvis by increasing blood circulation to the surface, and reduces congestion of abdominal organs and inflammation. It is recommended for piles or hemorrhoids, constipation and all chronic digestive disorders. Neutral sitz bath can be taken for a cooling effect against burning sensations or flatulence. Hot sitz bath helps reduce urinal disorders, cramps and lower back pains. Alternate hot and cold sitz baths are used to treat diseases of the abdomen. Douche: Water streams at controlled temperature and pressure are applied against the entire body or a part. A douche can be applied with cold, neutral and hot water or other liquids. It acts as a general tonic to the affected part. A douche can also be applied under the water surface in an immersion bath tub or water pool to get relief from muscle pains and spasms. Partial bath: A partial bath may be given to limbs at different temperatures by immersing them in a tub filled with cold, neutral or hot water. It also reduces congestion in the upper part of the body and is recommended for complaints such as headache, cold and labored breathing. Whirlpool bath: Individual limbs or the whole body is immersed in a tub filled with artificially agitated water. The combination of heat and friction provides relief to muscle pains and spasms. Whirlpool baths are also used for open wounds on arms or legs, especially amputated stumps that are infected or painful. Hot air bath: Also called the Turkish bath, a hot air bath improves circulation of body fluids. It is recommended for arthritis. Hot air is passed through three or four successive chambers where the temperature is steadily rising. In the last chamber, the temperature is usually 93°-104° C. Despite profuse sweating, the body temperature does not increase in a hot air bath. A cold shower followed by a 30-minute rest is necessary at the end. Vapor bath: Vapor generated by boiling water is passed into a chamber. The effects of a vapor bath are the same as a hot air bath except that the body temperature increases in this, as the sweat does not evaporate. The bath is recommended for arthritis and mild high blood pressure and should be taken under supervision. IRRIGATION Water is passed through internal parts for cleansing. These are the different kinds of irrigation processes. Enema: Hot, normal or cold water is introduced in the lower part of the large intestine with an ‘enema can’ via the rectum. Normally, about one to two liters of water is injected which is passed out along with the stool after a few minutes. Warm water enema is good for chronic constipation, inflammation of the prostate gland, urinary disorders and pains in the large intestine. Neutral enema soothes irritated bowels and is recommended for chronic diseases. Cold enema reduces intestinal irritation and helps absorb water during dehydration. For severe constipation, a small dose of cold water enema at night is helpful. Nasal irrigation: Irrigation of the nose with warm water is recommended for sinusitis and infection of the upper respiratory tract. Cold water irrigation is good for epilepsy and nasal bleeding. Ear irrigation: Warm water is normally used to irrigate an infected ear. Vaginal irrigation: Vaginal irrigation is recommended for reducing excess discharge or post menstruation for removal of remaining blood clots. A cold water douche helps reduce irritation or swelling of the vagina. MEDICATED BATHS Medicated baths act as counter irritants and antiseptics. There are several types of medicated baths: Brine bath: Artificial brine bath is prepared by adding 2.5-3 kg of common salt to a bath tub of warm water. The temperature of the water is maintained between 32°-40°C. Brine bath stimulates the skin and results in profuse sweating. After the bath, a blanket is wrapped around the body to continue the sweating. The bath is recommended for skin diseases and rheumatism. Sulfur bath: 150-200 gm of potash with sulfur is added to water heated to 32°-38°C. Recommended for 10-20 minutes for infections and skin eruptions. Mustard bath: 850-900 gm of mustard is added to water at 35°-37°C. Recommended for 10-15 minutes. The oil in the mustard irritates the skin and increases blood circulation. Spa treatment: Water used for a spa treatment has a higher mineral content than normal drinking water and its temperature is above 20°C. The type of diseases treated at a spa depend on the mineral content of its waters. Using water to treat diseases has advantages and disadvantages. However, these treatments should only be done under the guidance of an able instructor. You can also exercise in deep water or relax in a pool. This is effective for arthritis and contraction of the muscles. So, the next time you don’t feel that good, just go out and have a splash. It’s bound to wash your troubles away.
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