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An Analysis Of Hydrotherapy

2619 words - 10 pages

The awareness of the healing potential of water as a therapeutic resource is aged. The ancient Romans understood its value to heal, hydrate and sustain life and created many public bathhouses for therapeutic use. By the time the ancient Greek civilization was established, the use of water as a healing resource was well known (Bettman, 1956). The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, promoted the healthful effects of taking a bath and the Roman regimen also acknowledged its value for good health and hygiene (Schiff, 2001). The ancestors of many cultures used Hydrotherapy techniques, also called Hydrotherapeutics or Hydropathy (Beamon & Falkenbach, 2004) and its value became better known with the first textbook on hydrotherapy, written by an English physician named John Floyer in 1697 (Schiff, 2001). In Germany during the nineteenth century, Vincenz Priessnitz (1799-1851) and a Bavarian monk, Father Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) established independent Hydrotherapy Centres declaring that water would "dissolve, remove and strengthen"; that water could dissolve matter suppressing disease, remove the disease from the body while strengthening the body by restoring clean blood to the tissues and maximizing circulation (Griffin, 2003).In 1900, Hydrotherapy gained some scientific acceptance when J. H. Kellogg, a medical doctor, published his book, Rational Hydrotherapy, which became the definitive work on the subject (Barron, 2003). He documented numerous research experiments on the therapeutic effects of water, capturing the interest of incalculable readers, promoting and signifying its value in the medical field. His book is still used today by many practitioners who are learning the rudiments of Hydrotherapy as part of their training.The practitioners most often associated with hydrotherapy today are naturopaths. The education of naturopathic doctors (NDs) follows a path similar to that of medical doctors (MDs). Applicants enter naturopathic medical school after receiving a baccalaureate degree (usually pre-med) where they complete two years of post-graduate basic science coursework and then move on to two to three years of didactic and clinical training including time spent in supervised patient care. In addition to education and training in the same areas of study as conventional medicine, they learn about holistic approaches, with a strong emphasis on disease prevention. These studies include clinical nutrition, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, natural childbirth, manipulative therapy and hydrotherapy. Upon graduation, students must pass a professional board examination to become a licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (Canadian Council of Naturopathic Examiners, 2003).Modern Hydrotherapy treatment can be defined as the use of water in the treatment of injury, illness and disease (Becker & Cole, 1999), which includes various theories of approach depending on the specific technique used. Some theories are based on the observation...

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