History of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy was previously referred to as the 'the water cure'. Legend has it that it started in the 5th century B.C. when Hippocrates used to prescribe bathing in spring water to cure illnesses. As time moved on, the Romans famously built the Roman Baths for public use, believing the hot water promoted health and well-being. Egyptian royalty thought that by adding essential oils and flower essences, the water would aid in many healing processes. The Japanese still use Onsens (hot springs) today and they believe it has healing powers due to the mineral content.
During the middle ages, hydrotherapy seemed to disappear. It was during the 18th century that Vincenz Priessnitz, a peasant farmer from Austria, revived the treatment. He was intrigued and inspired at how animals would heal themselves from a nearby stream. Following this, he healed his own wounds with water wraps and water therapy and then became a healer of animals using similar techniques. He became renowned for his treatments. The Austrian emperor called for him to heal his brothers, which made him infamous. Doctors and royalty called for his services. Eventually spas were built and hydrotherapy in the modern age was born.
Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest was a devoted follower of Priessnitz and continued his good work progressing it into the 19th Century. In the same era, highly valued animals needed looking after and hydrotherapy began to play a role with these sick and injured animals in order to get them back to work. Hydrotherapy in canines was inspired by the horse racing industry. Today, it has evolved to domestic pets.
As time has passed, so too has knowledge, medicine and practices. This evolvement has meant hydrotherapy has become a proven medical treatment for many different conditions for humans and animals alike.