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What is Hydrotherapy?

What is Hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy, in the most general sense, means treatment with water. Hydrotherapy, one of the sub-branches of physiotherapy, has a wide range of applications. There are various hydrotherapy methods according to the type of disease. When hydrotherapy first became widespread in history, it was only used to relieve muscle pain. Today, it is used in hydrotherapy pools under the supervision of a therapist as a treatment for adults and children with different skeletal and muscular system disorders. 

There are basically two types of hydrotherapy: internal and external hydrotherapy. External hydrotherapy methods have a wider range of uses and are used more frequently, whereas internal hydrotherapy methods are only used for bowel cleansing and cleansing the female genital system.


Hydrotherapy treats physical disorders that occur in both children and adults for various reasons. Recommended for sports injuries, skeletal dysfunctions, muscle areas with movement restrictions, tissue and joint injuries and patients who have had a stroke, hydrotherapy offers a drug-free treatment method. Hydrotherapy processes, which are determined according to the symptoms of the disorders, result in a high rate of success. 

Hydrotherapy alleviates pain, edema and fatigue by using natural methods. It also relaxes the joints, strengthens the muscle structure and increases flexibility. Hydrotherapy is a frequently recommended treatment type for patients to have a healthier body structure. 


In hydrotherapy, where water is used for health purposes, pool treatment is utilized together with the therapist. Depending on the type and method of treatment, passive activities, massage applications, exercises and stretching movements are performed. The therapist is usually located in the central area of the hydrotherapy pools. According to the hydrotherapy method determined with the FTR specialist, a special exercise program is determined for each patient. Within the framework of this program, the patient's pool treatment is continued.


More than one method can be applied in hydrotherapy applications. These methods can be applied under different conditions and can be for different purposes.

Below are the main hydrotherapy methods:


In water aerobics, aerobic exercises are performed in a therapy pool with a temperature of at least 27 °C and at most 35 °C, with the patient's entire body in water. Water aerobics, which utilizes the resistance provided by water density, is applied to people who want to increase heart resistance, increase lung capacity and balance blood pressure values. It also helps to soften various arm and leg muscles and increase mobility. Water aerobics, which is also extremely beneficial for chronic joint pain, is a hydrotherapy method that can be easily used in the treatment of patients of all ages.


Deep water running hydrotherapy, a method used especially for athletes, is a useful treatment for sports injuries. It is usually performed by using straps or vests to support the head area above the water. Professional athletes can also participate in deep water running therapy, which includes rhythmic activities and aquatic exercises. Deep water running is also a treatment for the development of children's motor skills.


Colon hydrotherapy is a method used to remove accumulated mucus and gas secretions from the body. Colon hydrotherapy can be used not only for purification, but also for people with diarrhea, parasites, bowel syndrome, eczema, gas, hemorrhoids, constipation and various skin problems. During colon hydrotherapy, the entire colon is filled with water and the toxic substances in the body are removed with massage. It is an extremely effective method especially for intestinal problems.


In the temperature-controlled hydrotherapy method, the treatment pool is adjusted at certain temperatures, softening the muscles and joints, relaxing the body, healing the problematic area in injuries more painlessly and without medication, creating an additional method to clinical treatment. Temperature-controlled hydrotherapy, which accelerates blood flow, revitalizes the cells in the body and gradually increases the temperature to 37.5 °C, is frequently preferred for patients undergoing physical therapy, recurring injuries that cause movement restriction and in the recovery process after paralysis.


Like other methods, water message hydrotherapy offers many benefits. Water massage, which relaxes the body both psychologically and physically, such as anxiety disorders, chronic pain, intestinal problems, pregnancy pains, is not recommended for people with heart diseases and blood pressure patients. In underwater massage, almost every part of the body is included in the massage by using a water jet and water spray device. The therapy pool is at an average temperature in water massage, which relieves body aches and pains to a high extent and provides relaxation.


Hydrotherapy is carried out in specially used therapy pools. The temperature controlled therapy pools are highly sterile and disinfected. Hydrotherapy pools, which are cleaned and refilled with clean water after each patient, have no width and length standards.


All hydrotherapy applications are carried out in the therapy pool. The middle of the pool has a space reserved for the therapist. Depending on the types of hydrotherapy, the depth of the pool varies and is at most 1.5 meters deep. The water temperature in hydrotherapy pools, which are not as large as swimming pools, varies according to the method applied and the diseases of the patients.

Hydrotherapy pools are used separately for children and adults. The most important factor in hydrotherapy pools, which are usually rectangular or square, is hygiene. Especially after internal hydrotherapy methods, both the hydrotherapy devices and the pool should be carefully disinfected.


The devices used differ according to hydrotherapy methods. The most commonly used hydrotherapy devices include underwater jets, Swiss shower model, Vichy shower model, thermal capsules, scotch hoses and column device.

  • Underwater jets are devices located on the floor of almost every hydrotherapy tub and pool that provide low to medium intensity massage. 
  • In the Swedish shower model, the shower unit is triangular or round. The unit distributes the incoming water in three or more places. 
  • The Vichy shower model is a device in which the patient is treated inpatient and can be used in all treatment methods.
  • There are multiple devices in the unit of thermal capsules. The unit usually includes a vichy shower device, aromatherapy diffuser and bathtub. 
  • Scotch hoses are also known as jet hoses. Scotch hoses are applied to the patient by massaging with water spray feature. 
  • Colon device is a device used for colon cleaning in hydrotherapy. The colon machine is a hydrotherapy device where the pressure to be applied can be adjusted and the temperature can be adjusted between 22 ° C and 40 ° C degrees.


Contraindications to hydrotherapy:

  • In case of an open wound,
  • In case of sensory loss,
  • In case of pregnancy,
  • In case of fever or risk of infection,
  • In case of hydrophobia,
  • In case of mental problems,
  • In the presence of hypertension,
  • In the case of cancer disease and its treatment,
  • In the presence of cardiovascular diseases.


It is known that in Egyptian and Chinese civilizations in history, hydrotherapy pool treatments were widely used. Developed at the end of the 19th century by Sebastian Kneipp, hydrotherapy has been enriched in terms of treatment area with innovations in the field of medicine and technology. The name of hydrotherapy before it took its modern form was hydrotherapy. Later, when it started to be used as a type of physiotherapy in the medical field, it was named hydrotherapy.