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One of the first textbooks on hydrotherapy was written in 1697 by the English physician John Floyer. Since then, there have been numerous physicians and others who have become famous using various types of hydrotherapy treatments to cure people of countless illnesses. Many people have heard of John Harvey Kellog, who ran the famous Battle Creek Sanitorium in Michigan, and used many different hydrotherapy treatments, as well as massage, electrotherapy, and diet to help cure hundreds of previously “incurable” cases. By the early 1900s, hydrotherapy was a common treatment employed by naturopathic physicians. Benedict Lust, Henry Lindlahr, and O.G. Carroll are three of the most famous naturopathic physicians who have ever lived. They combined hydrotherapy with other treatments such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and diet therapy to help heal literally thousands of people whose conditions were originally considered incurable. Hydrotherapy was the center-point of their practices and many of the treatments that they used are still being used today.

Since the time of these great physicians, hydrotherapy has experienced a slow but steady decline in popularity as a common treatment in naturopathic offices, for numerous reasons. Some doctors lack the proper training and experience, as school curriculums no longer focus on hydrotherapy. Some doctors choose not to use these treatments, because they can be time consuming, and not very cost-effective. There are still a few doctors out there who continue to carry on with these wonderful treatments. These doctors are aware of the power of hydrotherapy, and will continue using it well into the future, regardless of what new supplements or other “miracle treatments” come along.

Water therapy is available in a wide variety of applications and is useful in a broad range of conditions. The benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Wide availability
  • Limited side effects
  • Inexpensive
  • Can be done at home
The goal of hydrotherapy is to improve the circulation and quality of blood and thus initiate recovery or cure. If circulation is poor, healing nutrients cannot be delivered and waste products/toxins cannot be removed, which causes degeneration of the tissues and organs.

Alternating hot and cold (contrast hydrotherapy) is a common hydrotherapy treatment. The hot application expands blood vessels, filling them with blood, and the cold application causes constriction, forcing the blood elsewhere. Hot and cold water can be applied to any part of the body that is inflamed, congested, or injured. Treatment normally consists of applying a hot cloth for 3 minutes then a cold cloth for 30 seconds, alternating 3 times in a row. The treatment can be done several times a day. The amount of time the hot and cold is applied may vary (for example 5 minutes hot, 1 minute cold) so long as the cold application is of shorter duration than the hot. It is also very important to end the treatment with the cold application. The hot application may be quite hot, but never hot enough to burn or scald.

Water works on the body reflexively. This means that when water is applied to one part of the body, other parts of the body are also stimulated by reflex action. For example, if the left foot is fractured and in a cast, an alternating hot and cold treatment can be performed on the right foot. Because of the reflexive action, the left foot will obtain the benefits of the hydrotherapy treatment even though it was done on the right foot. This principle is also used when a hot and cold treatment is applied to the feet to treat problems in the head and neck.

TYPES OF HYDROTHERAPY

Baths and showers
Baths and showers can be healthy and healing. A hot bath or shower can encourage relaxation, reduce stress and flush out toxins. Adding essential oils or herbs to the bath can enhance the therapeutic benefits. Cold baths and showers can be energizing and stimulating; a rinse of cold water after a hot shower can invigorate, boost the immune system, and improve blood flow.

Hot foot bath
A hot foot bath is the immersion of both feet and ankles in hot water for 10-30 minutes and is an excellent way to draw blood from inflamed or congested areas of the body. This form of treatment is recommended for foot and leg cramps, sore throat, cold, flu, nausea, insomnia, and chest or pelvic congestion.

Wrap the upper body in a blanket to avoid chilling. Using a large dishpan or the bathtub, immerse both feet and ankles in warm water. Keep adding hot water until it is as hot as can be tolerated. Place a cool washcloth on the forehead (keep the washcloth cool during entire treatment by wringing it out in cool water). Keep feet in the water for 10-30 minutes depending on tolerance. As the water cools, add more hot water to maintain the hot temperature. After removing the feet from the water, rinse them with cool water and dry them thoroughly.

This treatment is not recommended for patients with peripheral vascular disease (arteriosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, Buerger’s disease), diabetes or loss of peripheral sensation.

Alternating Footbath
This technique is used to increase blood flow to the feet and help reduce swelling and pain in that area. It is also used with congestion headaches as well as numerous local problems of the feet and legs.

Add hot water (105 to 110°F) to one pail. Do not exceed 120°F. The water temperature should not exceed 103°F in peripheral vascular disease or in advanced diabetes. Add cold water (45-55°F) to a separate pail. Find a comfortable place to sit. Immerse your feet and legs up to the mid-calf area. Cover yourself with a wool sheet and/or blanket. Leave feet in place for three minutes.

Then immerse your feet in the cold pail for 30 seconds. Alternate the hot / cold cylce a total of 3 times. Always finish with the cold. If you begin sweating, place a cold compress with a wash cloth on your forehead. Dry your feet and legs thoroughly when finished and if possible, rest for 30 minutes after the procedure with your feet elevated.

Warming Socks / Wet Socks Treatment aka heating compress
The heating compress is an application of a cold compress to an area that is initially cooled by the water and then warmed by the influx of blood to the area. It is an effective therapy for sore throat, cold, flu, and sinus congestion when it is administered to the throat or feet.

Make sure feet are warm and dry. If necessary, warm feet in warm water before beginning treatment. Wet a pair of white cotton socks in cold water and wring them out well. The socks should be damp but not dripping wet. Place the socks on both feet. Place wool socks (preferably 100% but no less than 80% wool) over the cotton socks and go to bed with enough blankets so that you are warm during the night. In the morning, the socks should be dry. Perform this treatment every night while congestion / illness lasts. This can be used to treat colds, headaches, sore throats, ear infections, and almost any other problem involving congestion or infection in the upper body and head. This form of treatment is not used for conditions irritated by moisture or for very weak individuals.

Sitz bath
The 'sitting' or 'hip' bath applies the principles of hydrotherapy to stimulate circulation in the pelvic area. The usual practice is to use alternating hot and cold baths. At one time Sitz baths were used extensively in medical practice, but they are now largely ignored because of inconvenience, even though they have proven beneficial in stimulating recovery.

You will need two large plastic containers, big enough to hold your hips, buttocks, and lower abdomen comfortably, yet fit inside the bathtub or shower. Sturdy storage containers are available in a variety of sizes from retail stores. Fill one container with hot water (106-110F, 41-43C), so that when seated the water covers your navel. Fill the other with cold water (55-75F, 12-24C), perhaps slightly less full than the hot one.

Carefully ease yourself into the hot water. The water should be almost uncomfortably hot, but not to the point of scalding. Remain immersed for 2 to 5 minutes and just when it starts to get comfortable, transfer yourself to the cold bucket. Be prepared for a shock. Force yourself to sit there for 20 to 60 seconds. After this time or when it begins to feel tolerable, return to the hot container. Repeat this process at least three times. You should always begin your treatment with the hot bath and finish with the cold, drying off when completely done.

Sitz baths are useful in vaginal infections, chronic urinary tract infections, pelvic congestion, pelvic inflammatory disease, hemorrhoids, fissures, prostatitis, constipation, postpartum, improving neuralgias and insomnia. People who should not use this form of treatment include those with peripheral vascular disease (arteriosclerosis, deep vein thrombosis, Buerger’s disease), diabetes, acute bladder infections, and loss of peripheral sensation.

Constitutional hydrotherapy
The constitutional hydro is a series of hot and cold towels applied to the chest and back. This treatment is more involved than other hydrotherapy treatments but is very effective for almost every condition. Naturopathic physicians use this method for promoting overall health, detoxification, digestive enhancement and immune system function. Treating yourself by this method is usually not recommended, but doing it yourself may be your only choice if no doctor is available who is familiar with the procedure. Contraindicators include acute asthma and acute bladder infections.

While lying on your back, cover the bared chest and abdomen with two thicknesses of a terrycloth towel wrung out in hot water that is not too hot to touch. Cover the entire body with a wool or Velux blanket. Leave the hot towels in place for five minutes.

Then, replace the hot towels with a single thickness of towel wrung out in cold water. Cover your body again with the same blanket. Leave this cold towel in place for 10 minutes. Do not remove this towel until it becomes warm, or 12 minutes have gone by. If the towel is not warmed within 12 minutes, remove it.

Roll over and repeat the same treatment on the back. The treatment should take about a half hour.

If you have no one to help you, try this method instead. Take a hot shower for five minutes. Get out and towel dry. Take a towel wrung out in cold water and wrap it all around the trunk of the body, from armpit to groin. Cover your entire body with wool or Velux blanket. Leave cold towel in place for at least 20 minutes, or longer, until the towel is warmed up.
 

 
 

Hydrotherapy can help with the following:
 
 
Allergy  Post Nasal Drip
 Wash the nose and sinuses with salt water: Nasal irrigation's utilizing a buffered hypertonic saline solution helps to reduce swollen and congested nasal and sinus tissues. In addition, it washes out thickened nasal secretions, irritants (smog, pollens, etc.), bacteria, and crusts from the nose and sinuses. Non-prescription nasal sprays (Ocean spray, Ayr, Nasal) can be used frequently, and are very convenient.

Nasal irrigation can be done several times per day, and is frequently performed with a syringe, a Water Pik device or Neti pot. The irrigating solution can be made by adding 2-3 heaping teaspoons of salt to one pint of water. It is best to use Morton Coarse Kosher Salt or Springfield plain salt because table salt may have unwanted additives. To this solution, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Store at room temperature, and always mix solution before each use. If the solution stings, use less salt. In the beginning, or for children, it is best to start with a weaker salt mixture. It is not unusual to initially have a mild burning sensation the first few times you irrigate.

While irrigating the nose, it is best to stand over the sink and irrigate each side of your nose. Aim the stream toward the back of your head, not at the top of your head. For young children, the salt water can be put into a small spray container which can be squirted many times into each side of the nose.

Another effective way to introduce the saline solution into the nasal passage is with a urinary catheter (with female Luer Lock fitting) attached to a 30-60cc syringe. This can then be inserted a short ways into the nasal passage.

Circulation

  Enlarged Lymph Nodes
 To hasten the recovery of swollen lymph nodes, try a heating compress. A heating compress is not a hot compress but a cold one. It heats the area by bringing more blood to the area in order to warm the cold compress. Apply a cotton compress, such as a washcloth which has been placed in cold tap water and wrung out, to the affected area. Place a layer of plastic on top of this, followed by a large cloth such as a towel which will have an insulating effect. Make sure to wrap it in such a way that no air gets to the heating compress. Holding it in place by use of a makeshift wrap (ace bandage, belt, strapping material) will ensure that it doesn't fall off if you fall asleep. This should be left in place for several hours or until the compress has dried.

  Phlebitis / Thrombophlebitis
 Hot packs may be helpful for superficial thrombophlebitis but probably will not benefit deep vein thrombosis. Taking alternating hot and cold sitz baths or using alternating hot and cold compresses may help improve circulation in the affected area.

Also, keep the affected leg elevated 6 to 12 inches above the level of the heart when applying moist heat. It may help to keep your feet up all night long. You can elevate the foot of your bed several inches with wooden blocks.

  Hypotension
 Heating the skin draws more blood to the surface and increases the risk of lowered blood pressure. Avoid prolonged exposure to hot water, such as hot showers and spas. If you get dizzy, sit down. It may be helpful to keep a chair or stool in the shower in case you need to sit; to help prevent injury, use a chair or stool that is specifically designed for showers or bath tubs.

Digestion

  Dyspepsia / Poor Digestion
  Hemorrhoids
 A sitz bath is recommended 3 times a day and after each bowel movement for at least 15 minutes. Just sitting in a few inches of warm water in a tub can lessen the swelling and the pain. Dry the area carefully, yet thoroughly, afterwards.

  Constipation

Immunity

  Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome
 Feb. 2008. REUTERS reports that European researchers have found that swimming can significantly ease the debilitating pain of fibromyalgia. According to the report, researchers studied 33 women, having one group exercise in warm water for more than an hour three times a week for eight months while the others did no aquatic training.

Narcis Gusi at the University of Extremadura in Spain and Pablo Tomas-Carus of the University of Evora in Portugal, who conducted the study, said that the women who swam said the workouts helped ease their pain and they reported an improved quality of life.

"The addition of an aquatic exercise program to the usual care for fibromyalgia in women is cost-effective in terms of both health care costs and societal costs," they wrote in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

  Weakened Immune System

Infections

  Pharyngitis
 Gargling with very warm salt water hourly can ease the pain and reduce the duration of a sore throat. Sometimes it works so well that people forget to continue gargling after the first couple of times and the sore throat returns. Use at least 1/2 teaspoon salt per cup of water. The water should be no hotter than your immersed finger is able to tolerate. Other uses of water for pharyngitis are mentioned in the discussion of the Treatment - Hydrotherapy.

  Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
 Sitz baths can powerfully affect the organs of the lower abdomen and pelvis.

  Colds and Influenza
 (Europe)—A recent report by News24.com cited a new study that found children with colds may recover faster with a saltwater or saline treatment.

European researchers found that a nasal spray made from Atlantic Ocean seawater "eased wintertime cold symptoms faster and slowed cough and cold symptoms from returning among children ages 6 to 10."

The study, done by Dr Ivo Slapak and colleagues at the Teaching Hospital of Brno in the Czech Republic, was announced after a warning just last week, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that standard cough and cold treatments could be risky in young children, and were mostly ineffective anyway.

The Czech research, which involved 390 children having "uncomplicated cold or flu symptoms," lasted for a period of 12 weeks.

According to the report, the children all received the same medications, but some received the saline nasal wash in addition. Those who did were found to have less stuffy or runny noses, and "eight weeks after the study began, those in the saline group had significantly fewer severe sore throats, coughs, nasal obstructions and secretions than those given standard treatments."

  Ear infection, External
 Using moist heat (but not overly hot) can improve circulation and lymph flow when dealing with an external ear infection.

  Sinusitis
 Nasal Lavage by Daniel H. Chong, N.D. - The nasal lavage is a wonderful treatment used in cases of chronic infections and/or irritations in the nose and sinuses. These conditions include sinusitis, hayfever, and seasonal allergies. The goal of the nasal lavage is to reduce or eliminate the recurrent irritant so that the body can be given a chance to heal itself. Often times antihistamines, antibiotics and/or surgery are used to treat these conditions but do little to affect them, especially their recurrence. Long-term use of nasal lavage in these cases, along with appropriate diet and lifestyle changes, can be extremely helpful.

It is extremely important to follow all the instructions very carefully. Continue the routine until all symptoms resolve. This may take three to six months so BE PATIENT. For acute problems, perform the nasal wash up to four times per day until resolved. For chronic problems, it is usual to do the wash one or more times daily, continuing for several months. Pain or bleeding after the lavage may mean that an infection is still present and so it is important to continue with the program. Be persistent as it takes a lot of effort to rid your body of these chronic bacteria that may be producing the low-grade infection. If your condition continues to worsen, or no improvement is noted after a week of treatment, see your doctor.

Supplies Needed:
Sea salt
Filtered or bottled water
Neti pot or bulb syringe
Towel or washcloth
Directions: The technique, outlined below, may seem unusual at first. However, once learned, you will quickly realize how beneficial it is for sinus problems.

Locate a workable container. The neti pot is specially designed with a spout that fits comfortably in one nostril. Alternatives you can use include a bulb syringe, a small flower watering pot, a turkey baster, or just a teacup (though the latter will be messier).

Fill the container with lukewarm salt water. The salt-to-water ratio is 1 teaspoon sea salt to 1 pint (2 cups) water. Filtered or bottled water is best.

Have some tissues within reach for this next part. Over a sink, tilt your head forward so that you are looking directly down toward the sink. Insert the spout into your right nostril. It is important that you breathe through your mouth. Turn your head to the right and let water move into the right nostril and exit the left nostril. Normally, you will feel the water as it passes through your sinuses. It is fine if some of the water drains into the mouth. Simply spit it out and adjust the tilt of your head.

After using a cup of water, repeat the above procedure for the other nostril.

To finish, expel any remaining water by quickly blowing air out both open nostrils 15 times over the sink. Avoid the temptation to block off one nostril, as doing so may force water into the eustachian tube.

Another effective way to introduce the saline solution into the nasal passage is with a urinary catheter (with female Luer Lock fitting) attached to a 30-60cc syringe. This can then be inserted a short ways into the nasal passage.

An alternative formula for the lavage which some report to be more effective is:
1 pint of water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp Witch Hazel
If this seems too strong, the ingredients can be cut in half or the amount of water doubled.

Alternating Hot and Cold Sinus Compress - This treatment can be used as a stand-alone treatment for painful, swollen sinuses, but can also be used in conjunction with the nasal lavage treatment. Combining the two seems to make each one work a little better.

Supplies Needed:
Two face cloths
Hot water
Cold water
Directions:

Soak one face cloth in hot water. Wring it out so it is damp but not dripping. Place the face cloth over your nose and eyes, and sinuses surrounding these areas and leave it in place for three minutes.

Have the second face cloth soaking in cold water. Wring the cloth out. Remove the hot cloth, and place the cold cloth over the same area of your face for 30 seconds.

Repeat this alternating sequence two more times for a total of three alternating sequences of three minutes hot and 30 seconds cold.

Frequency:
For severe and acute problems, perform morning and evening.
For less severe problems or maintenance, perform once a day.

The entire procedure will take about 10 minutes once you have everything organized. If you are trying to clear drainage from your sinus passages, perform the NASAL LAVAGE procedure after you have completed the alternating hot and cold heating compresses.

ALERT! Make sure to use purified water, not tap water. 2011 - Louisiana's state health department has issued a warning about the dangers of improperly using nasal-irrigation devices called neti pots, responding to two recent deaths in the state that are thought to have resulted from "brain-eating amoebas" entering people's brains through their sinuses while they were using the devices.

Both victims are believed to have filled their neti pots with tap water instead of manufacturer-recommended distilled or sterilized water. When they used these pots to force the water up their noses and flush out their sinus cavities — a treatment for colds and hay fever — a deadly amoeba living in the tap water, called Naegleria fowleri, worked its way from their sinuses into their brains. The parasitic organism infected the victims' brains with a neurological disease called primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAME), which rapidly destroys neural tissue and typically kills sufferers in a matter of days.

  Ear Infection, Middle

Not recommended for:
  Cystitis, Bacterial Bladder Infection
 Sitz baths may be used for chronic cystitis, but should not be used in acute cases.

Inflammation

  Laryngitis
 Gargle with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon of salt in 1/2 cup of water).

Metabolic

  Insomnia
 Various forms of hydrotherapy have to been used to treat insomnia. The neutral bath tends to sedate disturbed people.

Many patients report that they sleep much better during the 'warming socks' treatment.

Musculo-Skeletal

  Osteoarthritis
 The Cochrane reviewers analyzed six trials that had 800 participants who all were living with osteoarthritis. Four studies included patients with osteoarthritis of either the knee or hip, one study followed patients with only hip arthritis and one included patients with only knee arthritis.

In the studies, some patients did aquatic exercises for different lengths of time and numbers of sessions per week, while other patients did no exercise or exercised on land. Most of the studies measured patients after three months of therapy.

Based on the studies' results, the reviewers said, "In people with osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, pain may decrease by 1 more point on a scale of 0 to 20 with aquatic exercise, and function may improve by 3 more points on a scale of 0 to 68."

"There is gold-level evidence that for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, aquatic exercise probably slightly reduces pain and slightly improves function over three months," the reviewers wrote. "Based on this, one may consider using aquatic exercise as the first part of a longer exercise program for osteoarthritis patients."

The reviewers were unable to find evidence on whether aquatic exercise affected patients' walking ability or stiffness after treatment sessions.

Wanda Evans, a physical therapy resource specialist at Kaiser Permanente, said that her clinic uses aquatic therapy to treat 80 percent to 90 percent of patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis and "100 percent" of them experience some improvement.

"Oftentimes, aquatics are the primary course of treatment if the patient is obese and 80 percent of our patients with this diagnosis are obese," Evans said. "Otherwise, it is considered an adjunct to the primary course of treatment, which is land-based exercises." [Cochrane Library, October 2007]

  Leg Cramps At Night

Nervous System

  Bell's Palsy
 The use of eye drops can be important in treating BP. The 'dry eye' and associated problems are caused by a combination of things. For some people the tear gland may not be producing moisture. Blinking is the mechanism that protects the eye from external debris and spreads tears over the cornea. Under normal circumstances we blink every 5-7 seconds and with every blink the eyelid spreads moisture over the cornea. With facial paralysis the ability to blink may be disrupted; eyelid closure can be weak or the eye can be stuck wide open. Take action if the eye feels uncomfortable. Manually blink your eye using the back of your finger at regular intervals, especially when it feels dry. A stinging or burning sensation can mean the eye is too dry, even if tears are apparent. The 7th nerve does not control focus, so if you are experiencing blurred vision, don't ignore it. It may be a warning of a dry cornea that needs to be protected.

Organ Health

  Prostatitis
 Hot baths are helpful for almost all men with prostatitis regardless of the kind. These are often referred to as sitz baths and the warm water and relaxation of the bath soothe the prostate and helps relieve symptoms.

The contrast sitz bath increases pelvic circulation and tone of the smooth muscles of the region. It is indicated in chronic prostatitis. The strong revulsive effect created increases the blood flow in the pelvic region dramatically. The Contrast Sitz bath uses alternating hot and cold water. Hot phase 105 F to 115 F for 3 minutes; Cold phase 55 F to 85 F for 30 seconds. Increases pelvic circulation and tone of smooth muscle of the pelvic region.

A hot enema, up to 103° F may be used three to four times a day, especially in acute cases.

Air temperature appears to play a role in chronic prostatitisas cold is frequently reported as causing symptom aggravation and heat is often reported to be ameliorating.[40] It appears that cold is one of the factors that can trigger a process resulting in CP/CPPS (chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome). Cold also causes aggravation of symptoms and can initiate a relapse. A survey showed that the occurrence of prostatitis symptoms in men living in northern Finland - a cold climate - is higher than that reported in other parts of the world. This could be partly caused by the cold climate.

Pain

  Low Back Pain / Problems
 Hydrotherapy is reported to have many beneficial effects in the treatment of people with chronic low back pain. Among the reported benefits are:
  • decreased levels of pain
  • lower intake of medication
  • improved function
  • improved quality of life
  • decreased general practitioner consultation
  • increased range of movement of the lumbar spine

Respiratory

  Bronchitis, Acute
  Asthma

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Hives
 An alkaline sponge bath may be helpful to reduce the itching. Add one teaspoon of baking soda to each pint of very hot bath water and soak.

Tumors, Benign

  Ovarian Cysts
 Contrast sitz baths, using separate basins of hot and cold water, can improve circulation in the pelvic area, speeding healing and reducing pelvic pain and treating ovarian cysts. Submerge the hips in the bath at least up to the level of the belly button. Begin with a three to four minute soak in hot water, followed by a 30 to 60 second cold soak. Repeat three to five times, ending with cold.

Uro-Genital

  Vaginitis/Vaginal Infection
 Sitz baths can powerfully affect the organs of the lower abdomen and pelvis.

  Dysmenorrhea, Painful Menstruation
 The use of heat has a good history of relieving menstrual cramps. As warmth increases circulation, it can reduce muscular tension. A warm bath or hot pack on the abdomen can provide significant relief.

The use of Constitutional hydrotherapy has been reported to be beneficial in this condition.

  Female Infertility
 Alternating hot and cold sitz baths are useful in improving pelvic circulation. These may be helpful in promoting fertility. Please use at times other than when attempting conception.


Not recommended for:
  Susceptibility To Miscarriages
 In over 1,000 pregnant women, the use of a hot tub or whirlpool bath after conception was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of miscarriage during early gestation. [Am J Epidemiol. November 15, 2003;158(10): pp.931-937]
 
 


KEY
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended
Reasonably likely to cause problems







GLOSSARY

Acute:  An illness or symptom of sudden onset, which generally has a short duration.

Arteriosclerosis:  A common arterial disorder. Characterized by calcified yellowish plaques, lipids, and cellular debris in the inner layers of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.

Asthma:  A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Constipation:  Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.

Diabetes Mellitus:  A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.

Essential Oil:  Volatile terpene derivative responsible for the odor or taste of a plant.

Hemorrhoids:  Varicose disorder causing painful swellings at the anus; piles.

Herbs:  Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with one teaspoon herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Tinctures may be used singly or in combination as noted. The high doses of single herbs suggested may be best taken as dried extracts (in capsules), although tinctures (60 drops four times per day) and teas (4 to 6 cups per day) may also be used.

Homeopathy:  A system of medicine based on the belief that the cure of disease can be effected by minute doses of substances that, if given to a healthy person in large doses, would produce the same symptoms as are present in the disease being treated. Homeopathy employs natural substances in small doses to stimulate the body's reactive process to remove toxic waste and bring the body back into balance.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Naturopathy:  Medical practice using herbs and other various methods to produce a healthy body state by stimulating innate defenses without the use of drugs.

Nausea:  Symptoms resulting from an inclination to vomit.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:  (PID) A Purulent (pus-like) vaginal discharge with fever and lower abdominal pain.

Postpartum:  After childbirth.

Sitz Bath:  Immersion bath.

Thrombosis:  Formation of blood clots causing vascular obstruction.