Water’s Healing Abilities

Date:  Aug 01-2008

            We have always known that water makes us feel better. Fortunes go into pools, hot tubs, and baths, and aquatic therapy has been very productive. Finally, Dr. Bruce Becker, clinical professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine in Seattle, has uncovered scientific and medical data, and done further clinical testing to document his findings. His hope is that people will learn and experience the 7 key benefits of immersion and that a depressing fall in overall health in this country can be reversed in an affordable and enjoyable way for everyone.
            Basically, when we enter the water, hydrostatic pressure compresses the body and displaces up to 75% of our blood, with 2/3 going into large vessels, and 1/3 into the heart. It effectively circulates more blood with each pump, emulating what the body does during light exercise if we are submerged to our neck, without any effort at all.
            Although people with hypertension experience an increase in blood pressure when entering cold or hot water, warm water seems to lower blood pressure for all individuals as arterial blood vessels relax when adjusting to increased blood circulation.
            Immersion also increases endurance. Hydrostatic pressure creates a compression on the chest wall, added to the increased blood volume, making it harder to breathe; about 60% harder when immersed to the neck. This, in turn, strengthens all respiratory muscles, lowers stress and turns out better land based performance and endurance.
            The viscosity of water creates a resistance through movement which exercises opposite muscle groups, and combined with increased blood flow, releasing toxins in the muscles, results in little or no muscle soreness, even when muscles are worked harder.
            In short, simple immersion to the neck in warm water:
  • Increases blood circulation in muscles
  • Strengthens respiration muscles
  • Reduces stress hormones
  • Enhances efficiency of the cardiovascular system
  • Improves kidney function
  • Lowers blood pressure in most individuals
  • Offloads joints
With all of the benefits of water, look to the wisdom of children, who are so attracted to it that most of them will splash in any day, any weather, and wearing anything, or not! Let’s make water part of their ongoing lifestyle by giving them a positive and confident learning foundation, introducing them to water sports and activities, and sharing a general overall joy of water with them.