11/18/2008 01:03:00 PM

Water Temperature During Hydrotherapy

While many view hydrotherapy as the result of pressurized whirlpool jets or air bubbles, a large part of the experience can be controlled through the temperature of the water. We feel these effects stronger when we take a bath because the rate of heat exchange between the body and water is 20 times greater than between the body and air. What that basically means is that while the temperature in your house may be a comfortable 72°F, that same temperature water would feel extremely cold. There are four ranges of water temperature that can be used for different types of hydrotherapy: neutral range, hotter range, cooler range, and cold range.

Neutral Range – Water is 95°F-98°F, and will feel comfortable as it mimics the natural temperature of the body. You can stay in a bath for extended periods of time as long as water temperature is maintained.

Hotter Range – Water is 99°F-104°F, and will feel very warm. Your core body temperature will go up and you will experience increased circulation as the body attempts to cool itself off. The highest temperature in this range is only safe to bathe in for a maximum of 20 minutes.

Cooler Range – Water is 89°F-95°F, and will feel very cool. This temperature is recommended for brief use after exercise or competing in a sporting event.

Cold Range – Water is 68°F-72°F, and should only be used in a controlled environment. This is used in some spas as a quick 60 second plunge after steam treatments to cool off the body.

For most of you using your home baths for hydrotherapy, your optimum water temperature will probably be between the neutral and hotter range. You should take some precautions when using hot water in your bath:
· Ensure your faucets have scald protection on them.
· If you are receiving treatment for a cardiovascular condition, consult your doctor before receiving hydrotherapy.
· Blood flow is increased by up to 30% when using hot hydrotherapy, so be sure to exit the bath slowly in order to avoid dizziness.

There are numerous other benefits of hydrotherapy, and Jason offers a wide range of baths and four types of hydrotherapy to meet those needs.

Richard Eidson’s Hydrotherapy for Health and Wellness: Theory, Programs & Treatments, Cengage Learning, 2008.