Bursitis hydrotherapy: Float and heal

Bursitis hydrotherapy is any use of water (liquid, steam, ice, heat) for healing purposes that goes thousands of years back in history. Romans built public bath houses, Europe has its Carslbad, Bath and Vichy, US have their Hot Springs, Colorado Springs,...

And why exactly is bursitis hydrotherapy a wonderful way to ease your joint pain?

Health benefits of water for bursitis and tendonitis


  • Is exceptionally compatible with our physiology - non-allergic, non-irritating and of similar heat conduction. After all, human body contains about 75% water.
  • Is one of the most powerful cleaning agents on earth because virtually anything can dissolve in water.
  • Is cheap and widely available (usually).
  • Reduces body weight by up to 90% as it relieves the body of the effects of gravity, easing pressure on joints, bones and muscles.
  • Relieves stress, anxiety and tension.
  • Hot and cold treatments are powerful anti-inflammatory. No side effects!
  • Supports the blood circulatory system, which supplies nutrients and oxygen to damaged and inflamed tissues and joints and helps to remove waste products from the system.
  • Increases the body’s production of endorphins, body's natural pain relievers and energizers.
  • Helps stiff joints and tissues regain mobility by warming and loosening them up, allowing movement without putting too much pressure or weight on them.
  • Stimulates the immune system to fight agains inflammation.

How to enjoy hydrotherapy

There is no one best way or procedure of bursitis hydrotherapy. It all depends on the extent of the inflammation of your bursa / tendons, what is available to you and what your preferences are.

These are the most common forms of bursitis hydrotherapy:

Alternate hot and cold showers / soaks

This one is self explanatory and you can practice this bursitis hydrotherapy treatment at home.

Simply alternate hot and cold shower applications. For example, 3 minutes of hot shower followed by 30 seconds of a cold one, once or twice daily, until bursitis is gone and forgotten.

If you suffer from bursitis / tendonitis of your hands / ankles, you can also do hot and cold tub / bucket soaks.

There are no 'side effects' to the water therapy so you can practice it in the long term. In fact, it is great for strengthening your blood circulation and immunity in general.

Soaking bath

The most basic form of bursitis hydrotherapy soak is just to take a nice warm whole body bath. But that is not where it ends, oh no, there are so many ways how to boost the healing, anti-inflammatory and detoxification effects of your soak.

There are no limits to what therapeutical substances you might wish to add to your hot tub - salts, herbs, oils, seaweeds... - or how often and how long you want to enjoy it.


I love floating!

It's the most enjoyable water therapy I have ever experienced.

Basically, they fill in a large floatation tank with skin-temperature water and load it with salt. Usually, about 25% solution or 1,000 pounds of salt is used. Such high salt concentration in the water allows your body to float on the surface of the water, feeling weightless, being spared from the effects of gravity.

How does floating help you to heal faster from bursitis?

  • The weightlessness relieves all muscles and joints of their load.
  • The cabin blocks all noise and light - total state of relaxation.
  • The salt has strong detoxification properties.

One floating session usually takes one hour, but it is an equivalent of about four hours of quality sleep.


Deep hydrotherapy massage through water jets can be targeted to specific areas of the body, such as muscles, to promote circulation, elimination of toxins and stiffness.

Air bath

Air bath works on similar principle as whirlpool, but the massage action of the tiny air bubbles is more gentle than the whirlpool jets. Therapeutic stimulant for the lymphatic system, blood flow, endorphins, and relaxant for sore muscles and tissues.

Scotch hose therapy

I have to say, this is probably my favorite bursitis hydrotherapy treatment of all. Not that the process itself is so pleasant, but it is unbelievably effective and invigorating water massage.

Basically, a hydrotherapist will be spraying your standing self with a relatively high pressure water wand / hose, from a specific distance, alternating hot and cold water sprays, aiming the hose on specific pressure points on your body.

Water exercise

Water exercise in a heated pool can also be called hydrotherapy.

There are countless types of hydro excercises, depending on the severity of your bursitis / tendonitis, your fitness level, abilities, preferences and interests.

There are public group classes for older adults or people with health conditions such as joint problems, 'aqua-aerobic' classes for general fitness, individual sessions offered by physiotherapists. Or you can just do some excercises in the pool independently, on your own.

Swimming is hydrotherapy too!


In case of acute bursitis / tendonitis warm water can only make the inflammation worse.

Also, the water used for bursitis hydrotherapy should never be so hot that it would actually prevent blood circulation in the tissues.

Cold water does wonders though.

And rule no. 1 - always be gentle to yourself.

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