Overview of 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 and immune system strength. If this treatment is performed in a physician's office, a sine wave (electrical stimulation) may be used to enhance the treatment.

Constitutional Hydrotherapy Procedure

  1. Take the person's temperature to insure that it is at or above 97º F. If it is lower than 97º F, do NOT perform this treatment.
  2. Have the person lie face up on top of a sheet and 1 or 2 blankets large enough to completely wrap the person.
  3. Cover the chest from the neck to the waist with two hot wet towels that have been wrung out. DO NOT burn the person. To be sure the towel temperature is appropriate, place the towel against the person's arm and ask them if it is too hot, before applying it to their chest. If it is too hot, shake towel once or twice to cool it down and again check the temperature against the person's arm.
  4. Wrap the person in the sheet and blankets and leave them wrapped for 5 minutes.
  5. Lift the blanket and sheet and place a fresh hot towel on top of the other two hot towels (being careful not to burn the person).
  6. Flip all three at once so the fresh towel is against the person's skin. Then remove the two original (now cool) towels, leaving the new hot towel in place.
  7. Place a cold towel on top of the new hot towel and flip again so the cold one is against the person's skin.
  8. Remove the hot towel, leaving the cold one, and wrap the person in the sheet and blanket again. If the person is chilled, add more blankets or use a hot foot bath to warm them. The person should NOT be chilled during this treatment. Keep them warm.
  9. Leave the cold towel on for 10 minutes. The cold towel should be warmed. If it is not, warm the person with more blankets or a hot foot bath until the towel is warmed.
  10. Lift the blanket and remove the now warm towel.
  11. Have the person turn over to lie face down.
  12. Repeat the process on his or her back.

Constitutional Hydrotherapy Indications

  • Immune enhancement
  • Digestive problems
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cold and flu
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Cancer
  • Varicose veins
  • Hypertension
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Psoriasis

Constitutional Hydrotherapy Contraindications

  • Acute bladder infection
  • Acute asthma
  • Oral temperature less than 97º F

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Jan 2001

Last Modified: 01 Dec 2011