Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy, or water therapy, is the use of water (hot, cold, steam, or ice) to relieve discomfort and promote physical well-being.

The therapeutic use of water has a long history. Ruins of an ancient bath were unearthed in Pakistan and date as far back as 4500 B.C. Bathhouses were an essential part of ancient Roman culture. The use of steam, baths, and aromatic massage to promote well being is documented since the first century. Roman physicians Galen and Celsus wrote of treating patients with warm and cold baths in order to prevent disease.

By the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, bathhouses were extremely popular with the public throughout Europe. Public bathhouses made their first American appearance in the mid 1700s.

In the early nineteenth century, Sebastien Kneipp, a Bavarian priest and proponent of water healing, began treating his parishioners with cold water applications after he himself was cured of tuberculosis through the same methods. Kneipp wrote extensively on the subject, and opened a series of hydrotherapy clinics known as the Kneipp clinics, which are still in operation today.

Hypercortisolemia

Hypercortisolemia
Hypercortisolemia

Cortisol is an essential glucocorticoid hormone, a subgroup of steroid hormones, the major hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Hormones are messenger substances, substances produced in one gland or area of the body that move through the blood and stimulate activity in other glands or areas.

Glucocorticoid hormones affect carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Steroid hormones are hormones related to cholesterol. Hypercortisolemia refers to high amounts of circulating cortisol and may be a pathological or non-pathological condition.

Pathological hypercortisolemia, or Cushing’s syndrome, named after the United States surgeon, Harvey Cushing (1869–1939), may result from a lung cancer, tumor of the pituitary or adrenal glands, or from kidney failure.

Nonpathological hypercortisolemia is a normal response of pregnancy, and to such traumas, as accidents or surgery (including circumcision, studies show), some forms of depression and stress. Over time, continued exposure to trauma and stress may produce chronic hypercortisolemia and result in serious long-term debilitating illness.

Hypertension

Hypertension
Hypertension

Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as it flows through them. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the body’s tissues.

As blood flows through arteries, it pushes against the inside of the artery walls. The more pressure the blood exerts on the artery walls, the higher the blood pressure. The size of small arteries also affects the blood pressure.

When the muscular walls of arteries are relaxed, or dilated, the pressure of the blood flowing through them is lower than when the artery walls are narrow, or constricted.

Blood pressure is highest when the heart beats to pump blood out into the arteries. When the heart relaxes to fill with blood again, the pressure is at its lowest point. Blood pressure when the heart beats is called systolic pressure.

Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism
Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism is the overproduction by the parathyroid glands of a hormone called parathyroid hormone (parathormone). Parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands located just behind the thyroid gland in the front of the neck. Parathyroid hormone (parathormone) helps regulate the levels of calciumand phosphorus in the body.

Thyroid glands and parathyroid glands, despite their similar names and proximity, are entirely separate, and each produces hormones with different functions.

Hyperparathyroidism may be primary or secondary. It most often occurs in patients over age 30, and most commonly in patients 50 to 60 years old. It rarely occurs in children or the elderly. Women are affected by the disease up to three times more often than men. It is estimat- ed that 28 of every 100,000 people in the United States will develop hyperparathyroidism each year.

Normally, parathyroid glands produce the parathormone as calcium levels drop and lower to meet the demands of a growing skeleton, pregnancy, or lactation. However, when one or more parathyroid glands malfunction, it can lead to overproduction of the hormone and elevated calcium level in the blood. Therefore, a common result of hyperparathyroidism is hypercalcemia, or an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood.

Infant Massage

Infant Massage
Infant Massage

Infant massage refers to massage therapy as specifically applied to infants. In most cases, oil or lotion is used as it would be on an adult subject by a trained and licensed massage therapist. Medical professionals caring for infants might also use massage techniques on infants born prematurely, on those with motor or gastrointestinal problems, or on those who have been exposed to cocaine in utero.

The practice of massaging infants dates back to ancient times, particularly in Asian and Pacific Island cultures; that is, massage was a component of the baby’s regular bath routine among the Maoris and Hawaiians. Touch in these cultures is considered healthful both physically and spiritually.

In the West, however, infant massage has received more attention in recent years in conjunction with the popularity of natural childbirth and midwife-assisted births. Dr. Frédéric Leboyer, a French physician who was one of the leaders of the natural childbirth movement, helped to popularize infant massage through his photojournalistic book on the Indian art of baby massage.

Infant massage was introduced formally into the United States in 1978, when Vimala Schneider McClure, a yoga practitioner who served in an orphanage in Northern India, developed a training program for instructors at the request of childbirth educators. An early research study by R. Rice in 1976 had showed that premature babies who were massaged surged ahead in weight gain and neurological development over those who were not massaged.

Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia
Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia involves raising the body’s core temperature as a means of eradicating tumors. The treatment simulates fever. Some therapies actually bring on fever through the introduction of fever-causing organisms, while others raise body temperature by directly heating the blood.

Hyperthermia dates back to investigations begun in 1883 by William B. Coley, M.D., a general surgeon at New York City’s Memorial Hospital. Coley was intrigued by a paper published in 1868 by an American family physician named Busch. Busch’s paper described a patient with an untreatable sarcoma of the face.

Though Busch had been unable to help the patient overcome her cancer, the patient went into remission spontaneously after suffering a bout of the skin infection known as erysipelas. The erysipelas resulted in a high fever ranging from 104°F to 105.8°F (40°C to 41°C).

Over the next 20 years, Coley performed a series of experiments to study the effects of elevated temperature on various forms of cancer. After experimenting on animals, Coley moved to treating human cancer patients, injecting them with bacteria to induce high fevers.

Infertility

Infertility
Infertility
Infertility is the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year. In primary infertility, pregnancy has never occurred. In secondary infertility, one or both members of the couple have previously conceived, but are unable to conceive again after a full year of trying.

Approximately 20% of couples struggle with infertility at any given time. Infertility has increased as a problem over the last 30 years. Some studies blame this increase on social phenomena, including the tendency for marriage and starting a family to occur at a later age. For women, fertility decreases with increasing age:
  • Infertility in married women ages 16–20 = 4.5%.
  • Infertility in married women ages 35–40 = 31.8%.
  • Infertility in married women over the age of 40 = 70%.

Presently, individuals often have several sexual partners before they marry and try to have children. This increase in numbers of sexual partners has led to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.