You must have come across a signpost somewhere in Kampala advertising reflexology services and along with it hydrotherapy. Given the rate at which the signposts are going up, one has to wonder what hydrotherapy is all about and why it is so popular all of a sudden.
According to Mr. Amos Mugisha, director of Help Life services (Gaddafi Road, Makerere), a facility that offers these services, there are a number of benefits to be accrued from hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy, the “general term for water therapies” was recorded amongst the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Hippocrates, “Western Father of Medicine”, prescribed bathing in spring water for certain illnesses. Hippocrates believed that nature could cure man of his illnesses. Egyptians bathed with essential oils and flowers while the Romans had public baths for their citizens as if showing the importance of water for one’s well being.
The Japanese and Chinese too have a long history of hydrotherapy. Little wonder then that Chinese and Japanese have high life expectancy rates. Japan boasts of one of the oldest people alive today. This cannot be attributed to hydrotherapy alone but their whole way of living of which hydrotherapy is part.
So, what can hydrotherapy do for you? According to Mugisha, hydrotherapy helps to reduce stress, detoxify the body, cure insomnia, reduce excess fats hence doing away with obesity, do away with malaise and diabetes mellitus type 2.
Hydrotherapy is a relaxation treatment. One sits in a bath of warm water, at least here in Uganda (elsewhere, cold and warm water are used alternately) and it is this relaxed atmosphere that banishes stress. With relaxation comes the ability to sleep better. High blood sugars (diabetes mellitus type 2) are sweated out during the therapy and so are the fats and all the toxic substances in the body such as the by-products of family planning pills.
High blood pressure is reduced because the warm water dilates the clots that block blood vessels (clots are as a result of leading a sedentary lifestyle) and when this is done, the heart no longer pumps blood at such a high pressure because it does not need to. The heart pumps blood using much more force when blood vessels are blocked with clots and fats and this is what causes high blood pressure.
If you are a recovering alcoholic or drug abuser, hydrotherapy is good for you too. In fact, Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) was treated with hydrotherapy. The sweating helps to remove the remnants of substances that were being abused. This does not change one’s mindset though about quitting substance abuse. It only helps with detoxification.
A session of hydrotherapy, which lasts about 45 minutes, is equivalent to running 5Km at a high speed so this is also a good way to work out.
However, you cannot do it at home because each specific ailment is cured by particular herbs added to the water. Diabetes say is cured by diamed. Mugisha also says that the water has to be kept at a particular temperature which cannot be done at home.
Before engaging in this therapy, it is advisable that one has a meal. That aside, there are many quacks out there. The only school that teaches hydrotherapy as far as Mugisha knows is found in Kenya and nowhere else in East Africa. This means that you should only use those facilities that have been recommended by someone that has used them before.