Hydrotherapy, formerly called hydropaths and also called water cure is a part of medicine and alternative medicine, in particular of naturopathy, occupational and physiotherapy, that involves the use of water for pain and treatment. The term encompasses a broad range of approaches and therapeutic methods that take advantage of the physical properties of water, such as temperature and pressure, for therapeutic purposes, to stimulate blood circulation and treat the symptoms of certain diseases.
Various therapies used in the present-day hydrotherapy employ water jets, underwater massage and mineral baths (e.g. Iodine-Grin therapy, Scotch hose, Swiss shower) and/or whirlpool bath, hot Roman bath, hot tub, Jacuzzi, cold plunge and mineral bath.
Water therapy may be restricted to use as aquatic therapy, a form of physical therapy, and as a cleansing agent. However, it is also used as a medium for delivery of heat and cold to the body, which has long been the basis for its application. Hydrotherapy involves a range of methods and techniques, many of which use water as a medium to facilitate thermoregulatory reactions for therapeutic benefit.