Abstract | Critical Review on Trends In Hydrotherapy Research

· Abstract, Volume 6

View full article | Critical Review on Trends In Hydrotherapy Research

Dhananjay Arankalle1, Jincy Sundaran2, Raghuraj Puthige3

  1. Consultant (Technical), National Institute of Naturopathy, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  2. Lecturer, Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, Calicut, Kerala, India
  3. Senior Scientific Writer, Global Medical Affairs, Novartis Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

All correspondence may be directed to:

Dr. Dhananjay Arankalle

National Institute of Naturopathy,

Division of Intramural Research,

Bapu Bhavan, Tadiwala Road,

Pune – 411 001

Maharashtra, India

Email: consultant@punenin.org

Landline: +91-20-26059682/3/4

Mobile: +91-9923122217

Fax: +91-20-26059131


Word count (including tables; excluding abstract and references):   4898

Word count (only abstract):  263

Number of tables: 2

Number of figures: 0



Hydrotherapy, a modality of naturopathy that involves the use of water at different temperatures, pressure, states, and mode of application in the treatment, has been used since ancient times. Vinzenz Priessnitz and Wilhelm Winternitz are considered the creators of “world hydrotherapy”. It is believed that external application of water on the human body produces diverse physiological effects. The objective of this review is to summarize the validity of therapeutic findings based on research studies in hydrotherapy.


A Pubmed search was carried out with the key words “hydrotherapy”, “water therapy” and “physiological effects of water”. Papers were categorized based on the parameters studied, mechanisms discussed and their application in treating diseases. Full-papers or abstracts in English from the year 1975 to 2011 were included in the review.


Among all the hydrotherapeutic interventions, immersion bath, underwater massage, foot and arm bath, sitz bath and whirlpool bath (Jacuzzi) were the most studied. Cardiovascular hemodynamics, cellular immunity, psychological parameters, neonatal growth and risks of hydrotherapy were studied in depth. Studies attributed use of hydrotherapy in reduction of maternal anxiety and pain during labor, pressure ulcer healing, reduction of DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)-III scores, reduction of post-anorectic surgical pain, rehabilitation of myocardial infarct patients, enhancement of neuromuscular performance reduction in low density lipoproteins and total cholesterol, reduction of the physiological and functional deficits associated with delayed onset muscle soreness and improvement in performance recovery post strenuous training.


The physiological effects and therapeutic applications of hydrotherapy are diverse. The therapeutic effects of hydrotherapy based on previous research studies will be discussed.

Key words: Hydrotherapy Review Naturopathy