Therapeutic Application of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy is the application of water for therapeutic purposes, utilizing various water temperatures.
Different temperature ranges are used for different situations. Water temperature, according to Scully refererence, is classified as follows:
Warm water can be used to increase blood flow and circulation, increase metabolism, muscle relaxation, and ROM, and decrease muscle spasm.
Cold water can be used to decrease edema and hemorrhage by vasoconstriction to the area in contact with the cold. Nerve conduction and muscle spindle firing are decreased resulting in a decrease in pain and decreased muscle spasm respectively.
When admistering a hydrotherapy treatment we need to be aware of any adverse conditions that may appear. Skin pallor, shivering, dizziness, a rapid , weak pulse, headache, an increase in edema or decrease in ROM, hyperventilation and "seasickness".
In this section we'll discuss the hydrotherapy as being applied by a whirlpool bath. A whirpool is a bath of water that can be agitated by an electric turbine. There are a number of whirlpool tanks that are used depending on the area you would like to treat.
There are several reasons why a whirlpool treatment would be indicated. Burns if no agitation is used, open wounds for debridment purposes, post-operative orthopedic conditions where the water will add a bouyancy element to eliminate the weight of the extrmity for movement, and as a resistance force for exercise.
Contraindications include a feverish client, client with recent skin grafts, client with edema unless a lower water temp is used, circulatory impairments, infections that can be spread, cardiac and/or respiratory instability, hypertension, and active bleeding. Also be aware of any malignancies that may metstasize especially if using higher temps.
For guidelines on administering a Whirlpool Treatment click HERE. I got lazy and didn't want to type it all out so I just copied it from the 2200 Course Content site. It may not come out all straight or pretty but you should be able to get everything you need.