The hip bath is one of the most useful forms of hydrotherapy. As the name suggests, this mode of treatment involves only the hips and the abdominal region below the navel. A special type of tub is used for the purpose. The tub is filled with water in such a way that it covers the hips and reaches upto the navel when the patient sits in it. Generally, four to six gallons of water are required. If the special tub is not available, a common tub may be used. A support may be placed under one edge to elevate it by two or three inches. Hip bath is given in cold, hot, neutral or alternate temperatures.
Cold Hip Bath
The water temperature should be 100C to 180C. The duration of the bath is usually 10 minutes , but in specific conditions it may vary from one minute to 30 minutes. If the patient feels cold or is very weak, a hot foot immersion should be given with the cold hip bath.
The patient should rub the abdomen briskly from the navel downwards and across the body with a moderately coarse wet cloth. The legs, feet and upper part of the body should remain completely dry during and after the bath. The patient should undertake moderate exercise like yogasanas, after the cold hip bath, to warm the body.
A cold hip bath is a routine treatment in most diseases. It relieves constipation, indigestion, obesity and helps the eliminative organs to function properly. It is also helpful in uterine problems like irregular menstruation, chronic uterine infections, pelvic inflammation, piles, hepatic congestion, chronic congestion of the prostate gland, seminal weakness, impotency, sterility, uterine and ovarian displacements, dilation of the stomach and colon, diarrhoea, dysentery, hemorrhage of the bladder and so on. The cold hip bath should not be employed in acute inflammations of the pelvic and abdominal organs, ovaries and in painful contractions of the bladder, rectum or vagina.
Hot Hip Bath
This bath is generally taken for eight to 10 minutes at a water temperature of 400C to 450C. The bath should start at 400C. The temperature should be gradually increased to 450C. NO friction should be applied to the abdomen. Before entering the tub,the patient should drink one glass of cold water. A cold compress should be placed on the head. A hot hip bath helps to relieve painful menstruation, pain in the pelvic organs, painful urination, inflamed rectum or bladder and painful piles. It also benefits enlarged prostatic gland, painful contractions or spasm of the bladder, sciatica, neuralgia of the ovaries and bladder. A cold shower bath should be taken immediately after the hot hip bath.
Care should be taken to prevent the patient from catching a chill after the bath. The bath should be terminated if the patient feels giddy or complains of excessive pain.
Neutral Hip Bath
The temperature of the water should be 320C to 360C. Here too, friction to the abdomen should be avoided. This bath is generally taken for 20 minutes to an hour. The neutral hip bath helps to relieve all acute and sub-acute inflammatory conditions such as acute catarrh of the bladder and urethra and subacute inflammations in the uterus, ovaries and tubes. It also relieves neuralgia of the fallopian tubes or testicles, painful spasms of the vagina and prorates of the anus and vulva. Besides, it is a sedative treatment for erotomanis in both sexes.
Alternate Hip Bath
This is also known as revulsive hip bath. The temperature in the hot tub should be 400C to 450C and in the cold tub 100C to 180C. The patient should alternately sit in the hot tub for five minutes and then in the cold tub for three minutes. The duration of the bath is generally 10 to 20 minutes. The head and neck should be kept cold with a cold compress. The treatment should end with a dash of cold water to the hips.
This bath relieves chronic inflammatory conditions of the pelvic viscera such as salpingitis, ovaritis, cellulitis and various neuralgias of the genito-urinary organs, sciatica and lumbago.
Certain precautions are necessary while taking these therapeutic baths. Full baths should be avoided within three hours after a meal and one hour before it. Local baths like the hip bath and foot bath may, however, be taken two hours after a meal. Clean and pure water must be used for baths and water once used should not be used again. While taking baths, temperature and duration should be strictly observed to obtain the desired effects. A thermometer should always be used to measure the temperature of the body. Women should not take any of the baths during menstruation. They can take only hip baths during pregnancy till the completion of the third month.