HOT WATER BATHING
As recently as the 19th and early 20th centuries, people flocked to sites of natural hot water-spas to take ‘the cure’. Hoping to be cured of diseases such as tuberculosis or gout, many certainly experienced some measure of healing.
Fortunately, today many of the diseases that people hoped hot water bathing would help have been eradicated through better diet, modern hygiene, clean drinking water, immunization program and drugs.
The advent of the modern bathroom has brought hot water into almost every home. Hot water is more than just a convenience. Used properly, it is a powerful therapeutic tool which you can use in the convenience and privacy of your own bathroom.
PHYSIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF HOT WATER
# Temporarily increased blood pressure followed by decreased blood pressure.
# Increased superficial circulation.
# Increased blood supply muscles.
# General muscle relaxation, relief of muscle spasm.
# Increased heart rate.
# Increased blood volume.
# Promotion of sweating and increased elimination of metabolic waste.
# Increased metabolism with more oxygen to the tissue and increasing carbon dioxide production.
# Increased respiration rate.
# Stimulation of the immune system and increased antibody production.
# Stimulation of liver chemistry and lactic acid conversion.
# Sedation of sensory motor neurons and pain relief.
Also read our article on: Importance of Drinking Water
INDICATIONS FOR HOT WATER BATHING
# Back pain
# Muscle spasm and muscle tension
# Sprains and strains
# Bruises and contusions.
CONTRA-INDICATIONS FOR HOT WATER BATHING
Hot water bathing is not advised when the following conditions are present. Keep in mind, too that the technique is not appropriate for infants and very young children.
# Acute fever
# Severe cardiac complications
# Acute bleeding, open wounds, pressure sores
# Acute skin infections, contagious skin rashes
# Thermal nerve deficiency
# Incontinence of bladder/bowel
# Severe hydrophobia
# Malignancy or active T.B.
PRECAUTIONS REGARDING HOT WATER BATHING
Check with your doctor if you have any of the following conditions and would like to try hot water bathing.
# Acute injury
# Postural hypo tension
# Cardiac history
# Obesity or physical disability
# Impaired balance
EXPERIENCE IN HOT WATER
When you first encounter hot water in the shower, the tub or the hot tub, it takes your body a few minutes to adjust to the new temperature sensation.
During these moments, you experience a temporary increase in blood pressure as the circulatory system respond to the new environment.
Blood rushed to the skin, where it is warmed by the hot water. This causes the blood vessels to expand and the blood pressure to drop back down.
The rush of warmed blood than penetrates deeper into the tissue below the skin, bringing more oxygen.
It also brings a soothing, relaxing sensation as the warmed blood continues to expand more vessels. Even chronically tight muscles, which are responsible for much back pain, begin to relax.
That allows the free movement necessary for exercise and stretching.
At the same time that the muscles begin to relax, the nerves are soothed and pain is relieved.
As the heat goes deeper, your body temperature may increase to as high as 99 degree few more. This is a beneficial effect, helping your body eliminate metabolic products.
HOW HOT A BATH?
Heat tolerance is one of those individual preferences, so when bathing, find what feels best for you. Don’t scald or parboil yourself! Remember that hot water has many physiological effects and take these into account for therapeutic and safety purposes.
For example: Hot water lowers blood pressure, so be careful when beginning to stand up out of a bath tub, especially if it is very hot. If you feel dizzy, proceed with great caution.
Sit for a while first and let your upper body cool down out of the water before attending to stand up.
You sweat a lot in hot water, particularly on your head, so drink some water when you’re thirsty and wipe your face with the cool damp wash cloth.
FOR ADDITIONALLY LUXURY
For a nifty way to turn your bath into an herbal bath is to drop a bag of chamomile or mint tea into your bath water. Both will add soothing effect and feel great. They also won’t dry the skin as much as soaps, perfumes and bubble baths.