History of Naturopathic Constitutional Hydrotherapy
Originating in Europe, the constitutional hydrotherapy treatment was developed by naturopathic physician, Dr. O.G. Carrol (1879-1962). Dr. Carroll was "the busiest health practitioner of any persuasion in the United States in the 1930's and 1940's" and his practice centered around constitutional hydrotherapy that he perfected by 1923 and which did not change for the next 40 years. The practice and principles of constitutional hydrotherapy have been preserved for the this current generation of naturopathic physicians.
Goals and Principles of Constitutional Hydrotherapy
One of the main principles of this treatment is that health is proportional to the flow of normal and healthy blood through a targeted tissue. The goal therefore, is to increase the quantity of blood circulating through a given area or tissue during a period of time, as well ask improve the overall quality of blood throughout the body.
It has long been recognized that water temperature can have a mechanical effect on blood flow; that hot water will relax tissue, or that cold water can limit swelling and inflammation in tissue. Naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy relies on these principles by utilizing hot and cold applications to influence the quantity of blood through a given tissue while improving the quality of the blood circulating throughout the body. These treatments enhance blood flow through our organs of elimination, namely skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, colon, with the intent to increase the elimination of metabolic waste products.
The blood can be viewed as a vehicle for bringing life to all cells, and naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy promotes circulation of blood to our tissues to promote overall health and healing. This treatment enhances the immune response, improves overall nutrition, promotes detoxification, and supports a healthy nervous system.
Naturopathic Constitutional Hydrotherapy Treatment Procedure
This is a fairly complex treatment which can be mastered through repetition and supervised practice. There are several variables that the naturopathic physician manipulates in order to meet their patient's goals: body temperature, timing, location, pressure or friction, materials used, and saturation. The ability to adjust these variables according to the individual patient is the art of the treatment application.
The basic procedure is a series of hot and cold compresses applied to the chest, abdomen, and back in conduction with mild sine wave or other mild electrical stimulation to the back and abdomen. The procedure takes about one hour, dependent on the individual patent's needs.
Naturopathic constitutional hydrotherapy has the ability to improve overall nutrition and boos the body's innate capacity to heal itself and may therefore be useful in almost any condition. It is particularly useful in treating digestive tract disorders, respiratory conditions, circulatory problems, and other ailments such as arthritis, diabetes, depression, obesity, and psoriasis.
Serious illness or extremely low vitality as in the elderly and very young children, high fever, low oral temperature (<97 F), acute bladder infection, acute asthma, cardiac disease, moderate or malignant hypertension, heat-insenstive skin as in neuropathy, Raynaud's syndrome as part of an autoimmune complex such as lupus, fear of treatment, metal implants and pacemakers, IUD's, metal piercings, open wounds, active bleeding including menstruation, pregnancy, blood clot, malignancy or metastatic cancer, hematoma, or fracture near sine wave application site.
This involves the removal of metal jewelry and piercing, especially near the site of sine wave application. Ideally, in the 24 hours prior to treatment, the patient has had 3 square and balanced meals and adequate water. The patient should not consume a large meal or high-sugar or refined carbohydrates immediately prior to the treatment.