Contact Patricia Babin

Ellijay, Georgia

The Help of Hydrotherapy

A Chilling Experience…

With our recent wintry temperatures often reaching lows in the 20s and highs only in the mid 50-60s, it might boggle the mind that anyone would willingly dip their arm(s) into a bucket of freezing icy water. Recently, however, the Day Class at Cohutta Healing Arts Institute did just that, as they had a literal hands-on experience learning about Hydrotherapy. Students learned about the indications, benefits and possible risks of Cryotherapy-that is, a form of hydrotherapy that uses the local or general use of low temperatures in therapy. If you have ever used a bag of frozen peas on an injury, you have used cryotherapy. Students were shown and were able to experience such forms of cryotherapy as ice packs, chilled face masks and ice cups.

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the day was the ice water soak, which consisted of (up to) a 2-minute submersion of each student’s hand into a cooler filled with water and ice. While this exercise is largely voluntary, our Day Class students actively participated – some eagerly and others willing, but much more hesitant. A few in the class even formed a bit of a contest on who could keep their hand submerged the longest, going past the 2-minute mark. And a few went back to dip their other hand to “even things out.”

And a Little Bit of Heat…

After the cryotherapy introduction, students were given the opportunity to heat things back up when they learned about thermotherapy-the use of heat as therapy. Each student got a hot Paraffin hand dip and a few explored applying Paraffin via brush and strips. The use of hot stones was also reviewed. As with the cold therapies, the benefits, uses, indications and contraindications of warm therapies were all discussed.

Hydrotherapy Uses and Knowledge

Hydrotherapy in and of itself is the use of water (or other liquids) within a therapeutic treatment. Whether this is the use of warmed stones, rice packs, or Paraffin, or in colder applications such as ice packs or cooled water, hydrotherapy has many applications such as easing pain and inflammation and reducing or increasing circulation. The benefits, uses, indications and risks are dependent on each individual’s symptoms, needs and health history.

The Hydrotherapy class is often one of our students’ favorite classes, with so many treatment options being viewed and discussed. Often the class will go home with an interest in developing a new set of skills that they will later be able to incorporate into their massage practice. While hydrotherapy is not often incorporated into clinic sessions, occasionally a student may add a hot or cold pack into their client’s treatment plan. Clients are often also given recommendations for the use of hydrotherapy at home.

Upon graduation, many students will go on to provide various types of hydrotherapy in their practice. Be sure to tell your therapist about any symptoms you may be experiencing, and any complications, illnesses, or conditions. This helps the practitioner to find the best treatment options for you as an individual.

If you are interested in attending a student clinic, check availability and schedule your session:

A career you’ll love is waiting for you!
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By Leslie Byrd LMT, CHAI graduate and contributing author to the CHAI Massage Blog.