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Constitutional Hydrotherapy

This core hydrotherapy technique can be used for a variety of conditions, both acute and chronic. It should be implemented whenever there is any fever, or threat therein, or to help stop a developing cold or flu. Since it is a generalized therapy, it will tonify the gastrointestinal organs, calm the nerves and generally stimulate immune function. Since circulation will be increased it will help to detoxify the overall body. It is a very powerful treatment and can be used for the young, old and infirm alike. Children especially like it and often fall asleep once the second set of towels are placed on the back. If an individual does fall asleep either during or after the treatment, it is best if they can be allowed to rest as long as possible, so long as continuing the treatment is not disrupted.

Recommended frequency for Constitutional Hydrotherapy: Acute illness: Daily or even twice a day Chronic illness: Daily to weekly

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • 5 large hand towels (or 5 small bath towels)
  • thick rubber gloves
  • 2 large wool blankets (at least 6’ X 7’ or “double” size)
  • white cotton sheet
  • oral thermometer
  • large bowl or other container
  • hot water or microwave oven
  • A loved one to apply the treatment (if no one is available, see the Quickie Home Hydro)

How to do a Constitutional Hydrotherapy:

  • Spread the blankets on a bed or massage table and cover with the white sheet. Be sure to be away from vents or fans to avoid any unwanted drafts.
  • Have the person receiving the treatment get undressed (underwear may be left on, if desired, but no bra or tanks should be on) and lie on the bed or table. Wrap first the sheet and then the wool blankets around the person. Be sure that he or she feels warm before beginning treatment.
  • Take the person’s oral temperature. (Write it down or you may forget it!)
  • Heat two wet towels with either running tap water (if hot enough) or in the microwave.
  • When the towels are thoroughly hot, remove from microwave OR, if using tap water, wring them out as much as possible. Best to use rubber gloves, to avoid burning yourself, but allowing the towels to remain as hot as possible. Wring them out so that they are still holding enough water to retain the heat, but not so wet that they are dripping.
  • Just before placing hot towels on the chest, unwrap the sheet and blankets only enough to expose the person’s torso, from pubic bone to collar bone.
  • Slowly place the two hot towels over the person’s chest and abdomen, being sure to check the temperature of the towels against the patient's skin. Confirm that the temperature is ok before proceeding. Ideally the towels are as hot as the person can tolerate-without burning. If you start with a towel that is too hot, you can easily cool it by giving the towel one or two gentle shakes while holding it over the person. If the towel is not hot enough to begin with, this is harder to correct mid-treatment. Use slightly less heat for young children and for the elderly.
  • Quickly wrap the person in the sheet and blanket to their particular desired tightness. (Tighter will insulate heat better, but claustrophobics will not tolerate!). Allow the towels to remain in place for 5 minutes.
  • Give enough time before the 5 minutes is over to prepare a cold towel and a fresh hot towel. Wring out the cold towel, then the hot towel and uncover the torso again.
  • Place the fresh hot towel on top of the two towels that are on the person’s torso, and turn them over, so the fresh hot one is against the skin.
  • Place the cold towel on top of the hot towels and turn them over so that the cold towel is against the chest. Remove the hot towels completely and wrap the person up again. Put an extra blanket (preferably wool) on top and tuck it in around the person.
  • Leave the cold towel on for at least 10 minutes, possibly longer. It is necessary to leave the towel on until the person has warmed the towel. Check for warmth by sticking your fingers inside the blankets/sheet to feel the temperature of the towel near his or her shoulder. (Be sure to check the side of the towel that is touching the recipient, not the side that is touching the blankets, as it will definitely feel cold!) If the person is having a hard time warming the towel, rub your hands up and down the length of their body outside the blankets to help them generate heat.
  • Once the towel is warmed, remove it and have the person turn over onto his or her stomach. Repeat steps 4 through 12 to the backside of the body.
  • When finished with the final set of cold towels to the back, retake the oral temperature. Ideally the person’s temperature will have risen*.
  • Allow the person to rest after the treatment! Sleep is ideal!
  • *Remember that a fever, or higher temperature is a sign that the immunity is building itself. Do not be afraid of a fever!