Last updated August 24, 2023
The use of water as therapy is probably as old as mankind. In fact, therapeutic use of water dates back to the Ancient Greek, Chinese, Roman and Egyptian civilizations. If these ancient empires recognized the healing powers of water, there certainly must be a reason why hydrotherapy is good for you.
Since ancient times, a variety of hydrotherapy has been used. And it continues to be an integral part of holistic and alternative medicine therapies.
The intention of hydrotherapy is to ease mental and physical symptoms of stress with hot and cold water stimuli.
Cold water is used to stimulate and invigorate; whereas warm water is used to calm and soothe. Alternating between hot and cold water treatments can help release endorphins, ease muscle stress, and alleviate pain and inflammation.
Healing Powers of Water
Water has also been an attraction. The sea, a lake, even my neighbor’s swimming pool. I learned to swim at age four. Being in the water has always been a regular self-care essential.
Completely surrounded by water is a welcome moment of solace. Sounds are muffled. Bubbles float around me. As I slowly let my body rise to the surface, I feel relaxed and renewed.
Over time, the restorative powers of water have proven that they can eliminate my work stress, reduce the effects of long flights and most importantly, cheer me up.
Water is always the panacea I need. Each time I immerse myself in water, I learn about the health benefits of hydrotherapy beyond my daily swim.
Healing Benefits of Hydrotherapy Over Time
Hydrotherapy may seem like a newfangled treatment to add to your wellness checklist, but ancient empires were already hip to the therapeutic use of water.
The Egyptians were lovers of the bath, infusing essential oils and flowers in their luxe ablutions. So fixated on the need to feel clean, their elite class would bathe up to four times a day.
The creature-comfort loving Romans also adored their baths—constructing public and private bathhouses (which were called thermae) throughout their empire’s cities.
In 60 CE, Roman conquerors installed baths and a temple in the town of Aquae Sulis (translated as the waters of Sulis) after discovering hot springs in the far western edges of their empire (southwestern England).
As the waters were once again anointed in the 1700s as curative, the English city of Bath was rejuvenated, attracting those seeking the healing waters as a remedy for all kinds of ailments.
Today, Bath is an established spa destination. Thanks to its three main natural hot springs, 250,000 gallons of water flow daily.
Hydrotherapy is Good for You
The use of water is growing in popularity, with hydro circuits and thalassotherapy welcome inclusions in a wellness agenda. Whether in hot tubs or hot springs, hydrotherapy has the ability to calm and soothe.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, hydrotherapy has gained followers because of its use to reduce muscle pain, relieve joint stiffness and heal bruises. It has become another option in the treatment of a variety of diseases such as osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease and ankylosing spondylitis.
Hydrotherapy can be paired with low-impact activity in the water or as a post-activity treatment for those recovering from injury or beginning a new workout regime,.
At Euphoria Retreat in Mystras, Greece, guests are comforted and restored with holistic treatments routinely including hydrotherapy.
Euphoria offers a 25-minute personal bathing experience, which is a sequence of underwater jets combined with a customized selection of essential oils to relax, energize or detox.
“Because of its therapeutic effect on the body, hydrotherapy is highly recommended to all our guests,” explains spa manager Eleni Tsakistou.
She also recommends the signature Multi-Sensory Experience. This immersive sensation works beautifully on your body, mind, skin and psyche. Guests undergo a sequence—Vichy shower, mud mask, aromatherapy, color therapy, massage, steam and silence—to eliminate stress and infuse serenity.
Why Water Works
I’ve always taken advantage of a whirlpool before a spa treatment. On a trip to Mexico, I found the ultimate relaxation courtesy of my first experience with a hydrotherapy water circuit.
Wanting to treat myself to a manicure, I confirmed my time at the spa. The receptionist then asked me to arrive a minimum of an hour and a half before my appointment.
Why would I need to be that early? I was happily informed that the relaxation treatment was included with all spa appointments. I was told to bring my swimsuit as well.
Quickly ushered into the women’s change room after arrival, I slipped into my swimsuit, sandals and robe. I could hear the gentle waves from the ocean and an occasional chirp or two from birds—a calming soundtrack.
A Hydrotherapy Circuit Like No Other
The attendant gestured for me to hang my robe next to a lounge chair. From there I proceeded slowly down the stairs into a pool, following the curve of the pool to begin the circuit.
As I descended, I could feel jets of warm and cool water shooting toward my legs. I didn’t anticipate the jets below my feet, though, each pulse hitting a reflexology point from my toes to my heel. The process rapidly draining the stress from my body.
At the next station of the circuit, I was directed to stand below large curved silver spouts lining the edge of the pool. A steady sheet of water targeted my head, neck, shoulders and back. The steady pressure leaving me in a blissed out state.
I moved on, sinking to the below water’s surface to access jets pulsing from the side of the pool, positioning myself to direct them toward my knee, thigh and lower back.
The next station was cool water—a quick plunge under an icy shower stream to cool the body but also boost my circulation and lymphatic systems.
The spa attendant waved me over to the side. She offered me a tall glass of cucumber-infused chilled water and slices of pineapple and mango before inviting me to lie down on a curved lounge chair just below the water’s surface.
Tiny jets pulsed along the meridians of my body, while my mind wandered—feeling the warmth of the sun and the gentle motion of the warm pool water bubbling around me. I was definitely in the zone of solitude.
The Joy of Hydrotherapy
I don’t remember the details of my manicure. However, the effects of the hydrotherapy lasted the rest of the day. It also guided me into a sweet slumber that night.
Hydrotherapy became my obsession to seek out hydrotherapy circuits. From a five-star hotel in Versailles, France, to a laid-back resort in the Florida Keys to a remote outdoor spa in the Villarrica region of central Chile— each hydrotherapy session has left me blessed by the powers of water.
At Vacayou [pronounced VACAY – YOU], we believe that travel has the power to change lives. The power to revive, rejuvenate and redirect your inner wellness warrior. And that’s why we’re here. Vacayou brings the world of wellness travel to you!
No matter how far or how adventurous, our team scours the globe to curate the best in wellness travel. But the booking process can often be time-consuming and complicated. We’ve made it much easier for you to search, discover, and book wellness and active vacations. With Vacayou’s Instant Book, your dream wellness getaway is now just one click away.
Start the trip of your lifetime today, with Vacayou. We are here to help create a healthier global community through wellness and active travel.
To keep up with the latest wellness trends and experiences, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.