Dr. Sharif recommends various hydrotherapy (water therapy) exercises to his patients to address just about any condition. For example, to help improve men’s prostate health, he recommends sitz baths. Or, to improve with a person’s sleep quality, he recommends taking warm showers before going to bed, followed by a cooler (or room temperate) rinse for a minute.
“Our job is to make over the blood. Until we do, we’re just spinning our wheels.” Dr. Harold Dick, N.D.
The working hypothesis of naturopathic hydrotherapy is that health, and therefore healing, is proportional to normal flow of healthy blood. Hydrotherapy makes use of the body’s response to heat and cold. The primary reaction of the body to cold is stimulation, and its secondary reaction is invigorating, restorative, and tonic. The primary effect of heat on the body is as a stimulant, and its secondary reaction is depression, sedation, and atony.
Hydrotherapy enhances the circulation of blood and lymph, cleans the skin and removes impurities. By enhancing blood flow through the organs of elimination, such as the skin, liver, kidney and bowels, detoxification, and thereby improvement, of the blood takes place. In addition to improving blood by eliminating undesirable elements such as waste products, naturopathic hydrotherapists believe that water treatments can also help build the blood up by increasing desirable elements such as oxygen, nutrients, red cells, and white cells, etc. This is done primarily through treatments which tonify the digestive organs and thereby improve the nutrition received by the blood.
Blood is the conveyer of life. Hydrotherapy is the manipulation of circulation to maximize the life-giving properties of blood. Naturopathic hydrotherapy works because it optimizes the quality of blood while improving the efficiency of its circulation.
Are there different types of hydrotherapy?
Yes. Baths, including sitz, full immersion, local, vapor baths, foot baths, and sweating baths are used. Compresses are another type of hydrotherapy. Full-body wet sheet packs are used cold, but blankets are used on top to make the patient sweat. Douches, strong jets of water directed at a local or general area, are also used.
What kind of hydrotherapy treatments are offered at Dr. Sharif’s office?
1) Constitutional Hydrotherapy
This application involves the use of hot and cold towels on the trunk, while lying down on a table. An electrical stimulation machine is used to stimulate the peristalsis of the intestines. This can be extremely useful in the treatment of constipation and other gut problems. The entire procedure takes approximately 40 minutes. Individuals with metal implants can receive the hydrotherapy treatment without the use of electrical stimulation, and still experience many of the benefits of constitutional hydrotherapy.
2) Peat Hyperthermia Therapy:
Peat contains a variety of essential natural minerals, trace minerals, and herbs. Peat therapy uses peat plus heat, usually applied in a bath, to promote local and systemic healing. An example of a use for peat therapy would be immersion of feet in a warm peat solution to treat a sore Achilles tendon.
Can I do hydrotherapy at home?
Yes. And, it is free. Dr. Sharif recommends a variety of cold water hydrotherapy applications as prescribed by Father Kneipp, the father of hydrotherapy. These applications can be as simple as walking in a cold tub of water, or better yet, any natural body of water, for a few minutes daily.
Can water cause harm to me?
Yes. The duration and temperature of hydrotherapy applications must be adjusted to the individual.