by Dee McMath

Hydrotherapy is the use of water to promote good health, by cleansing and revitalising your system. Water can be used to dispose of the bodied waste products, which are often the cause of illness.

In the 19th Century Father Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian monk found that water could be used to clear the body's waste products and often cure illness. He experimented with many methods, including hot and cold baths and showers, steam baths and many types of body wraps. These methods are reflected in many of the many ways we use hydrotherapy today, including; the Jacuzzi, high-powered jets and Thalassotherapy.

It is relatively easy to find many forms of hydrotherapy in Andalucia. For example, all along the Costa del Sol and Costa de Luz (Mediterranean and Atlantic Coasts respectively) there are many four and five star hotels, which specialise in hydrotherapy treatments. Whether you actually stay at the hotel or not, you can usually book a morning or afternoon session in the hotel beauty or spa area and enjoy the facilities.

Of the many types of hydrotherapy treatments on offer, the following may not be suitable for you if you suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, angina, epilepsy, asthma or a history of thrombosis:

Steam/Turkish baths, saunas, hot herbal (Moor) baths.

Also, if you are pregnant - especially in the first three months - should not take steam baths or anything with extreme heat or cold. If in any doubt, it is always best to consult with your GP if you are thinking of having hydrotherapy.



It is normal that a therapist will have a chat with you before you undergo any treatment of this kind, to check your health and lifestyle to make sure there are no problems. With this information, the best treatment can be selected for your needs. There are numerous therapies to choose from, including:

Turkish baths: You relax in a room filled with warm steam. The steam opens the pores of your skin and for best results you should stay there for around 15 - 20 minutes at a time and overall up to 1 hour. In some instances, there are individual cabinets that close around you, with your head outside. Both these methods cleanse the body of impurities and leave your skin feeling soft and looking radiant. When showering after a Turkish bath, use an exfoliating skin product to cleanse even more.

High-power jets (in Spanish Ducha Escocesa): A cold or warm jet of water is fired at you from the far end of a specially closed in room. This has a massaging effect and is effective in stimulating the circulation, which in turn clears out your system. Very invigorating.

Saunas: You relax in a cosy, dimly lit room all decked out with wooden seating. Depending on how hot it is, you can stay for periods of 10 to 15 minute intervals, having cold showers and then returning to the sauna. 2 or 3 sessions at one time is usually enough. This is a dry heat, which also promotes sweating and clearing out of toxins from the body. Very cleansing and also relaxing.

Some of these therapies may seem inappropriate in the warm climate of Andalucia and this may be true in the summer months. But Andalucia also encompasses the high mountains and ski station of the Sierra Nevada, Granada. After a strenuous day skiing, you will be glad you booked to stay in a hotel with sauna or Turkish baths to relax your muscles and cleanse your body. Also in the winter months on the coast, a warm sauna or Turkish bath in the evening can help to detox from any seasonal over indulgences and promote good sleep to give you renewed energy for another day.

Living in Andalucia