Hydrotherapy is widely believed to have begun in the 5th century BC, when the Greek physician or Father of Medicine, Hippocrates first documented it’s practise.

Interestingly, this practise was not always known as “hydrotherapy”, instead in past civilisations, it was referred to as “the water cure” or “hydropathy”.

Ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Roman cultures continued to record the use of hydrotherapy, each added variations to the practise.

Research shows that the Egyptians had one of the earliest forms of water therapy. Sacred pools were built in temples for     priests and ceremonial uses. In fact, every Egyptians had a bathtub at home and those who were wealthy had the ones made of stone. They also believed in adding aromatic oils and flower essence would promote healing.
The ancient Greeks were the first to experience a true practise of hydrotherapy. This is largely influenced by Hippocrates who asserted that diseases were caused by environmental factors, not a form of punishment inflicted by the gods as popularly advocated. He used hydrotherapy extensively and recorded one of the earliest dictums on the therapeutic uses of water. In ancient Rome, communal public baths were used to promote health and wellness; as well as a place for socialization.
For the Chinese, hydrotherapy or ‘bath therapy’ existed in their culture for thousands of years and had been part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine called medicated bath or herbal bath. In general, herbal baths were traditionally used for skin cleansing/getting rid of body odour, promoting blood circulation and metabolism, strengthening immune system, to preventing and healing illness.
Hydrotherapy in ancient Japanese tradition, involves utilization of the hundreds of the country’s natural hot springs for treatments, maintaining and enhancing wellness, beauty, healthy aging as well as treating medical conditions.

Most early forms of Hydrotherapy in Europe involved the use of cold water, particularly in the treatment of diseases that led to high fevers, as cold water was instrumental in bringing about relief from otherwise harmful high body temperatures. However, there were some hot treatments that become popular at the time, as well. Borrowed from “Turkish Baths”, hot Hydrotherapy treatment was introduced by David Urquhart into England after he returned        from a trip to the East where he had enjoyed the beneficial therapeutic effects of hot mineral baths.

 

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