Hydrotherapy is a physical therapy method that applies water for therapeutic purposes. Physical properties that facilitate hydrotherapy are hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, thermal conductivity and specific heat capacity.
Hydrostatic pressure that affects veins and lympathic vessels by decreasing the amount of blood filling the veins and accelerating blood flow (Bernoulli's Law) has an effect on the injured person's body. The effect of hydrostatic pressure on the vascular system increases cardiac stress and reduces the vital capacity of the lungs by 8–10 % (thus making it difficult to breathe in and making it easier to breathe out).
Buoyant and gravitational forces have an effect on the body when immersed in water. Because the forces act in opposite directions, the person can also move in water even if the muscles of the person undergoing rehabilitation have been weakened. As the patient also experiences a feeling of floating in water, they may also train walking even when no stress may be applied to the lower extremities. By reducing muscular tone, relaxing muscles and improving joint mobility, buoyancy facilitates specific painless manipulations in water.
Natural thermal water is applied during the following therapy programmes:
- group exercises in the swimming pool
- one-on-one therapies in the bathtub
- pearl and herb baths, underwater massages,
- four-cell/two-cell galvanic baths,
- Stanger galvanic baths,
- cooling baths.
Kinesiotherapy is the most important manual technique that boosts and preserves muscular strength and improves coordination and balance through various therapy techniques and aids, seeking to maximise the function of the musculoskeletal system. Special physiotherapy techniques are also applied: Cyriax, trigger points, Mulligan, mobilisation, neuromuscular taping. In addition to isokinetic training and testing, special emphasis is placed on proprioception training. Kinesiotherapy is carried out on a one-on-one basis or in a group, subject to the diagnosis of the patient. During the therapy programme, all people undergoing a rehabilitation programme are taught exercises customised to their health. Verbal and written instructions to be taken back home are also provided.
Mechanotherapy includes the following therapy techniques:
- various types of manual therapy massages,
- lymph drainage therapy,
- foot reflexology massage,
- hypobaric therapy,
- traction of the lumbar or cervical spine.
Various types of analgesic electrotherapy are carried out:
- IF – Interference Currents are important to alleviate pain, reduce oedema and boost tissue circulation and muscle tone. Very high frequencies are applied and special electrodes do not only have an analgesic effect but alsoboost the local flow of lymph and blood.
- DD currents – Diadynamic Currents are applied on the surface of the body and for acute conditions; they help to alleviate pain and inflammation processes, normalise muscle tone and alleviate muscle spasms. Various types of combined diadynamic currents are highly recommended after locomotor system injuries.
- TENS – Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. Surface electrodes stimulate thick afferent nerve fibres – additional impulses are supplied to the spinal cord (Gate Control Theory). This type of therapy is advised for alleviating local pain, stimulating muscles and for rheumatic disorders.
Electrical stimulation therapy of specific muscle groups, intended to strengthen weakened and athropic muscles, as well as functional electrical stimulation that triggers muscle contractions and establishes functional movements are also carried out.
Thermotherapy is supplying the body with heat or withdrawing heat from it for therapeutic purposes. Thermotherapy procedures are divided into procedures that heat and procedures that cool parts of the body or the system as a whole. A thermoregulatory response of the body that seeks to limit the temperature change to the maximum extent by means of biological activity (vasodilatation, vasoconstriction) is expected in all cases. Thermotherapy involves supplying a part of the body or the system as a whole with heat for therapeutic purposes. The objective thereof is to increase the temperature of tissues to 4–6 degrees Celsius above the temperature of the central part of the body. The body responds to an increased body temperature by releasing heat. Peat, fango and Thermopack wraps are applied.
Cryotherapy means therapeutic local or general cooling of the body that seeks to trigger a thermoregulatory response.