I am proud to be the daughter of a veteran. My father served in the Navy for 13 years. He spent his 12-year military career was between Japan and the West Coast. Though he didn’t serve in any battles, he has issues with his back and knees today. His ailments are minor compared to those who have served in wars overseas. Musculoskeletal issues are common in Veterans, but did you know that hydrotherapy can ease this issue? Hydrotherapy can also help treat mental disorders and illnesses due to chemical exposure. Let’s learn about hydrotherapy, the benefits, and the link to the three common health benefits for veterans.
What is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is an age old natural remedy used to cure health issues through water immersion. Hydrotherapy occurs in forms of both cold water and warm water, depending on the ailment. Warm water therapy is the most common. Warm water therapy uses three common components: heat, buoyancy, and massage. Heat relaxes the muscles throughout the body. Buoyancy reduces the body’s weight in water by 90 percent, helping with exercise and movement. The massage component helps ease the troubled spots, allowing the body to release the body natural pain killing hormone, endorphins.
Hydrotherapy and Musculoskeletal Pain
Veterans suffer physical pain, especially in their neck, back, knees, and shoulders. Most of the pain remains chronic. A source from AltMed reported that about 100 thousand Gulf War veterans experience post war pain 20 years later. Hydrotherapy helps relax aching muscles. Warm water helps increase blood flow to the affected area. While submerged in water, weight and pressure on the aching areas decrease, helping make exercise and movement easy and less painful.
Hydrotherapy and Chemical Exposure Diseases
One veteran from Hadit informed his fellow veterans the following about hydrotherapy:
“For those Vets who are suffering from muscle or nerve damage, the hydrotherapy from the hot tub is the ONLY relief I have gotten from these chemical exposure diseases. My VA podiatrist and my private Neurologist both wrote prescriptions for me, and when I signed my contract for the hot tub, I was eligible for the state tax exemption. The company I did business with, got me the state tax for, and filled it out with the prescriptions attached, and it saved me about $810 in state sales tax.” Chemical exposure damage is another issue veterans face. Sarin is the most common chemical exposure among veterans. Sarin can cause long term heart damage due to prolonged exposure. Damage includes an enlarged left ventricle, abnormal rhythm, and pump strength reduction. Hydrotherapy’s warm water method helps relax the body, increases blood flow throughout the body, and ease chemical exposure symptoms after 30 minutes of water immersion.
Hydrotherapy for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Veterans make a sacrifice for our country. They spend a great deal of time away from loved ones. Upon return, they experience stress and some complex mental health issues. The most common is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTSD is a psychological condition triggered by a traumatic event such as war or terrorist act. The name was official in the 80’s but the condition dates back to as early as the Civil War. PTSD is also known as shell shock and battle fatigue. Some of the symptoms include depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recollection of sight and smell, and hyperalertness. There are also three grades of PTSD. Acute PTSD occurs within three months, but symptoms subside after six months. Chronic PTSD lasts longer than six months and can last for an indefinite amount of time. Delayed PTSD sufferers show symptoms after six months of a tragic event. One in ten will develop PTSD. Many who suffer this condition will seek help, but can be in therapy for a long period of time. Some will turn to hydrotherapy or another form of relaxation therapy to ease symptoms. Hydrotherapy eases the mind of PTSD patients. An underwater jet massage also promotes relaxation. With all the benefits of hydrotherapy for veterans, therapy can be done at home. At first thought, purchasing a hot tub could get pricey once you consider the cost, placement prep, installation, chemical purchases, and maintenance. There is one version of a hot tub that is portable, easy to install, eco-friendly, and even budget friendly. We like to call this tub the Softub. As mentioned above, Veterans can also write the tub off as a tax deduction!
Also, a quick note to all those who serve and the veterans who read this: