Dr. Christopher Lepisto

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December 6, 2012
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LEPISTO: Hydrotherapy, warm up to this treatment for cold & flu

OK, so you're a good mother or father and you've made your child their own healthy lunch, you've given them their vitamin C and their zinc, and you've even taught them (somehow) not to sneeze all over their friends. And they still get that seasonal tradition of a cold or flu.If this is a recurring story, you'll probably want to look deeper into why they're getting so many colds and flus. I have heard of mothers who thought that a weekly bug bomb in the house would keep children from getting sick, but it created so much sinus and lung irritation that the kids would get sick every few weeks. Not exactly what kids need, another dose of chemicals.The point is, look into why your kid may be getting sick so often. If your child has that cold or flu already, fret not, because you can shorten the duration and severity of the cold by half or more, just by following some simple traditions at home using water therapeutics, also known as hydrotherapy.There are two very simple at-home hydrotherapeutics that you can do for your kids (or yourself). The first is called a warming treatment for colds and flus. The goal of this treatment is to artificially induce a fever, which is nature's own internal remedy. This is done by increasing the body core temperature in order to stimulate the immune system and assist in destroying viruses and bacteria that are sensitive to increases in body temperature. It also promotes detoxification/elimination through the skin via sweating.Caution: Do not use this treatment if you or your children have any of the following conditions: serious illness or decreased vitality (elderly or children under 4), pre-existing high fever, tachycardia, arrhythmia, other cardiac deficiency conditions, open wounds or active bleeding, pulmonary deficiency, respiratory insufficiency, lupus, acute high blood pressure, diabetes, pregnancy, breast feeding or multiple sclerosis.Materials needed:• Bathtub or tub full of hot water (as hot as you can stand without burning your skin)• Towels or a flannel sheet• Two layers of wool blankets• Hot water bottle or heating pad• Drinking waterProcedure:1. Make sure someone else is at home with you for the treatment duration.2. Immerse as much of your body as possible in the tub for five minutes.3. Immediately dry off, dress warmly and get into a bed or couch lined with towels or a flannel sheet, with at least two layers of wool blankets wrapped around you like a burrito.4. If possible, place a hot water bottle over the upper abdomen (over the liver and spleen).5. Sweat for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Drink plenty of water during your sweat so that you'll remain hydrated. After the sweat, have some broth, soup or vegetable juice to help replenish electrolyte minerals lost during the sweating process.MAGICAL 'MAGIC SOCKS'The other hydrotherapy is a treatment called "magic socks." This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections. The magic socks treatment is best if repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed by your doctor.Indications:Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections.Contraindications:Use with caution in diabetes, Raynaud's phenomenon or syndrome, arterial insufficiency or advanced intermittent claudication. The warming phase is especially important for these patients, so please consult your doctor.Supplies:1 pair white cotton socks1 pair thick wool socksTowelWarm bath or warm foot bathDirections:1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.2. Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed first. Soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath for 5-10 minutes can accomplish warming.3. Dry off feet and body with a dry towel.4. Place cold wet socks, wrung out, on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.5. Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning. Cold, schmold! I have used these therapies in my practice and personally, enough to see that done at the first onset of cold or flu, the child will not even develop the illness. Sounds better than a week of a sniffling sneezer, right?Dr. Christopher Lepisto graduated as a naturopathic doctor (ND) from Bastyr University in Seattle, Wash. He is a native of Grand Junction and opened his practice here in 2004. Previously, Lepisto lived and worked in New Zealand, where he developed a special interest in indigenous herbal medicines. For more information, visit www.grandjunctionnaturopath.com or call 970-250-4104.

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 6, 2012 02:25PM Published Dec 6, 2012 02:24PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.