Hydrotherapy is the use of hot and cold water for the maintenance of health and treatment of disease. This is instrumental in reducing pain sensitivity, invigorating blood flow and circulation, increasing production of stress hormones, and stimulating the immune system.
Hydrotherapy is one of the oldest methods of healing and has been utilized in most ancient cultures in some form or another for thousands of years.
The modern evolution of Naturopathic Hydrotherapy began with the techniques of Father Sebastian Kneipp of Germany, and Vincent Priessnitz of Austria/Czech Republic. Both men used hydrotherapy to heal themselves from major illness: Kneipp from Tuberculosis and Priessnitz from severely broken ribs.
Their clinics became especially famous when they achieved extremely high rates of healing during Europe’s most deadly disease epidemics. Priessnitz treated about 45,000 patients and 1% of them died during outbreaks of the epidemic diseases such as syphilis and smallpox that carried much higher death rates at the time.
Constitutional hydrotherapy evolved out of these traditions when naturopathic doctor O.G. Carroll pioneered a style of in-office hydrotherapy derived from Kneipp combining the use of hot and cold towels with modern physiotherapy devices.