________________________________________________________________-___________________________________        Chapter 5  Heat and Cold Applications 
   (The Complete Spa Book for Massage Therapists - Steve Capellini)



Spa Profile

           100 Trillion Cells of Hydrotherapeutic Power


Richard Eidson -- author, therapist, inventor and hydrotherapy expert -- is a firm believer in the power of hydrotherapy to touch people's lives on many levels. When he begins speaking about his favorite topic, his voice brightens and he launches into  a well-thought-out explanation of exactly how and why spa treatments can be so effective.

"I have been able to travel a lot, fortunately," remarks Eidson, " visiting many of the great hydrotherapy centers around the world: Baden-Baden, Vichy, Japan, Greece where Hippocrates lived, and Turkey, among others, and through this I've been able to develop an historical perspective on the subject. It seems to me that over time we have gradually been developing a new paradigm, a new understanding of human physiology. Finally, just now, we are starting to move away from the gross anatomy paradigm and beginning to look at the body as it truly is-- this miraculous system made up of 100 trillion cells that live in an extremely dynamic fluid matrix, which is mainly water. The system is maintained by the heart pumping 3,600 gallons of blood per day out to 10 billion capillary beds where nutrients are exchanged. It's amazing when you consider the average body contains 10 gallons of water. That's 84 pounds! This water creates a huge capacity for transferring heat, for movement, for buoyancy, all of this which we work with through hydrotherapy. This is the new paradigm I am most excited about, the connection between our bodies, the outer world in which our bodies exist, and the treatments we can perform to directly affect our bodies in relation to the world."

Eidson has turned his passion and his understanding of hydrotherapy into something concrete that many massage therapists use everyday in their practices. At the inventor of the Steamy Wonder system, he has made it possible for countless therapists to offer hydrotherapy in a dry room setting. The Steamy Wonder is popular in spas and is mentioned several times in this book because it is such a valuable tool.


Eidson has recently developed a more advanced all-in-one hydrotherapeutic tool called the Integrated Spa System, which includes a wet table, Vichy shower, steam canopy, and massage platform. Using this new system, spa clients never get cold,  therapists never get wet, and clients can stay on the same table for two or three hours at a time. He markets these to therapists and spas all around the world, seeking to spread the benefits of hydrotherapy far and wide. "Hydrotherapeutic tools like the ones I invent for use by therapists can alter our metabolic rate 7 percent for every degree of increased temperature," he states. "So, if we can raise the core temperature for 98.6 degrees to 101.6 degrees, we are creating a 21 percent increase in circulation! This can offer outstanding health benefits. As soon as you increase the temperature of white blood cells, they become more effective, while at the same time heat makes viruses less effective, stimulating the immune system. It is no wonder that these treatments have been a fundamental part of healing traditions for centuries. It's all based on increasing the core temperature. This is fundamental science -- we are not taking about esoteric concepts here.

Eidson's book, Hydrotherapy for Health and Wellness, outlines a number of hands-on treatments, and in addition it offers the reader some philosophical insights into what he call the hydrosphere (Figure 5-37). "We exist within and are an integral part of the Earth's self-contained watery environment," he says. "Every 20 days we naturally lose 100 pounds of water, and we have to bring that back somehow from the outside world in the form of plain water, beverages and food. In a way, we are large, walking talking water filters. Students in massage school need to learn about this symbiotic relationship between our bodies and the planet, and in my opinion, they need to do that within a well-structured hydrotherapy program."