Unit 9: Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy Online Course

Hydrotherapy, as the name suggests, is all about water; water is a particularly unique substance and is used in all of its forms in hydrotherapy practice – as steam baths, hot and cold applications and as ice packs. We will look at the various techniques and the science behind how they work and provide some simple, yet effective, techniques that can be used with your family, friends and in your clinical practice.

In this unit you will study the history of hydrotherapy, the theory of hydrotherapy (latent heat, the uses of hot and cold in hydrotherapy, the importance of circulation, buoyancy, reflex areas and dermatomes, hydrotherapeutic manipulations and fever), the practice of hydrotherapy (tonic and stimulant, depressant and sedative effect, techniques), balneotherapy (hot, cold and graduated foot baths, warm and cold arm baths, hot and cold contrast baths, warm/neutral baths, cold baths, graduated baths, alternating leg and arm baths, sitz baths, washings), internal therapy (inhalations, enemas, equipment, water enemas), conditions and suggested techniques (varicose veins and haemorrhoids, hyper/hypotension, angina, thrush, tachycardia, congestive cold, pelvic problems, cystitis, immune function, insomnia, poor circulation, headaches, anxiety and depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and poor digestion, weak immune response, adrenal and thyroid support).

Hydrotherapy was the treatment of choice for centuries, being the only medicine available to the poor, where the nearest doctor lived many miles away and was often unaffordable. Hydrotherapy is still practiced today, although it has been developed since the days of Kneipp who generally preferred to use cold water. Certainly cold water swimming has been found to be very beneficial for depression. Modern hydrotherapy includes the use of warm water together with exercises given by physiotherapists for various ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pain and anxiety.

Traditional hydrotherapy techniques help to build immunity, improve circulation, improve the quality of the blood and lymph and balances the autonomic nervous system.

Hydrotherapy Course 

Units: 1
Study Hours:
Credits: 10
Time: Estimated
2 months (timing up to you)
Enrolment period:
4 months (with option to extend)
Purchased separately
Certificate in Hydrotherapy
Study Options:
 E-learning (online) or Correspondence (paper)

Aims of the course

  • To understand the history of hydrotherapy
  • To understand how hydrotherapy fits into naturopathic practice
  • To understand how hydrotherapy fits into the history of medicine
  • To understand the science that underlies the various hydrotherapy techniques
  • To be able to effectively apply basic hydrotherapy techniques in practice

Why study Hydrotherapy?

Knowledge of the basic principles of Hydrotherapy is required to be a registered Naturopath. All of the original Naturopaths used Hydrotherapy and developed its use in their practices. This module provides detailed information about the history, science and practice of hydrotherapy allowing you to use this simple but extremely effective tool safely in your practice.


1. Introduction

2. History    

3.  Theory of Hydrotherapy Part 1
Latent Heat                                 
The Use of Hot and Cold in Hydrotherapy                     

4. Theory of Hydrotherapy Part 2
Importance of Circulation                             
Reflex Areas and Dermatomes                         
Hydrotherapeutic Manipulations                        

5.  Practice of Hydrotherapy
Tonic and Stimulant Effect                            
Depressant and Sedative Effect                        

6. Balneotherapy (Baths)
Hot Foot Baths                                
Cold Foot Baths                                
Hot and Cold Footbaths                            
Graduated Foot Baths                             
Arm Baths (Warm and Cold)                         
Hot and Cold Contrast Baths                        
Warm/Neutral baths                            
Cold Baths                                 
Graduated Baths                                
Alternating Leg and Arm Baths                        
Sitz Baths                                

7. Internal Therapy  
Water Enemas                                
Other types of enema                            

8. Conditions & Suggested Techniques  
Varicose veins and Haemorrhoids                         
Congestive Cold                                
Pelvic problems                                
Immune Function                             
Poor circulation                                
Anxiety and Depression                           
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome                          
Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Poor Digestion                 
Weak Immune Responses                            
Adrenal and Thyroid Support                         

9.  Conclusion                             

Assessment Questions                       

Hydrotherapy techniques help to build immunity, improve circulation, improve the quality of the blood and lymph and balances the autonomic nervous system.