Hydrotherapy’s use has been recorded as early as ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Egyptian royalty bathed with essential oils and Óowers, while Romans had communal public baths for their citizens. It has been long accepted that hot water springs can improve health by increasing circulation. Hippocrates prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness. But it wasn’t until A Dominican monk; Sebastian Kneipp again revived it, during the 19th century. Today, hydrotherapy is utilized in treating arthritis, burns, and musculoskeletal disorders as well as for stroke patients with paralysis.
Father of Hydrotherapy – Sebastian Kneipp
Born in 1821, the son of a poor weaver in the Barvarian region of Germany, Sebastian Kneipp’s ambition was to join the priesthood. During his theological studies Sebastian
Kneipp was taken ill with pulmonary tuberculosis, at that time a fatal disease. By chance, a small book on hydrotherapy, authored in 1734 by Dr Hahn, found its way into his hands, which motivated Sebastian Kneipp to take short full immersion dips in the icy winters of Danube. This treatment enabled him to stimulate his physical stamina, or immune system, so much so that his tuberculosis went into remission and he was able to complete his studies. He then dedicated his rest of his long life to harnessing the healing power
of water, specific plants and herbs.
Well known now as one of the founders of the Naturopathic medicine movement, Sebastian Kneipp is most commonly associated with the “Kneipp Cure” form of hydrotherapy, a system of healing involving the application of water through various methods, temperatures and pressures.
Although most commonly associated with one area of Naturopathic medicine, Kneipp was the proponent of an entire system of healing, which rested on five main tenets:
The Kneipp’s 5 pillars to a healthy life:
During his time in Bad Wörishofen, Kneipp was able to counsel many people. Tens of thousands came from all over the world to receive his healing advice. He was the author of the books “My Water Cure”, “Thus Shalt Thou Live”, and “My Will”.