Treatment by natural waters.
In alternative medicine, use of baths of various types to relieve pain, muscle spasm, or stress and promote healing; an aspect of hydrotherapy. The tonic and therapeutic effects of the mineral-rich waters of spas, for example.
Water at different temperatures affects the nervous system by stimulating or soothing the spinal nerves. Hot water opens the pores and increases surface circulation, promoting elimination through the skin. Cold water has an overall tonic effect, increasing the circulation but closing the pores. Alternate applications of hot and cold water are believed by practitioners to be particularly beneficial. This therapy can be contraindicated for patients with high blood pressure or heart problems.
Foot baths are also considered to benefit the whole body, as points on the foot have been found to correspond with all the internal organs (see reflexology).
Epsom salts or bicarbonate of soda may be added to therapeutic baths to assist in detoxification and strengthen the immune system. Steam baths (Turkish baths) are still used therapeutically to hasten the elimination of toxins, and in some cases to facilitate elimination of substances with which the body cannot cope unaided.