Exploring the Benefits of Underwater Traction

What is Underwater Traction?

Underwater traction is a therapeutic treatment that utilises the weight of the body, suspended by the neck (and sometimes below the armpits), in a special pool filled with thermal mineral water. Additional weights may be added around the waist, hips, or feet to enhance the stretching effect. The mechanical force generated by the body weight induces the stretching of soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, sinews, and joint capsules, with a constant and continuous pulling force during the traction. This treatment is prescribed by a medical doctor, performed by an experienced physiotherapist, and typically lasts around 15 minutes. For a longer-lasting effect, the procedure is repeated daily over 2-3 weeks.

How Underwater Traction Helps

During underwater traction, the body is gently stretched, which helps to release stiff muscles and spinal connective tissues. The thermal water warms the body, relieving stiffness and increasing the elasticity of connective tissues. Additionally, sulfur compounds from the mineral water are absorbed through the skin and incorporated into the connective tissues, enhancing their elasticity. The combination of mechanical force, natural chemical compounds, and warmth relieves painful muscle contractures, joint blockades, or nerve compressions, thereby improving the mobility of the backbone and joints.

Historical Background and Treatment Details

Underwater traction therapy is a passive procedure designed in the 1950s by Dr. Károly Moll, a Hungarian rheumatologist. It spread from Hungary to neighboring Slovakia and is favored in world-renowned spas like Hévíz and Piešťany. While it can be performed in normal lukewarm water, the effect is comparable to traction in mineral thermal water. The mineral content in thermal water increases buoyancy, necessitating somewhat heavier weights to produce a comparable traction force.

Indications and Contraindications

Advisable for:

Degenerative diseases of the spinal discs and vertebrae
Upper/lower backache or headache due to nerve root compression
Scheuermann’s disease
Bechterew’s disease (states I–II)
Contracture of the hip and knee joints

Not advisable for:

Acute inflammation of nerve roots
Unstable spine
Previous spine operations
Any joint implants in the knees or hips or screws in the backbone and legs
Inflammatory contractions of the joints of the hip and knee
Severe varicose veins in the legs
Leg ulcers
Ischemic heart disease
Angina pectoris
Bronchial asthma
Severe lung emphysema
Any tumour
Infectious diseases
Acute inflammation
Acute thrombosis
Unstable diabetes
Alcohol or drug abuse

Underwater traction is a unique and effective treatment that leverages the therapeutic properties of thermal mineral water to promote the stretching and relaxation of soft tissues. By combining mechanical force, natural chemical compounds, and warmth, this therapy offers significant relief for various musculoskeletal conditions. Always consult a healthcare professional to determine if underwater traction suits your specific condition. Experience the rejuvenating benefits of this specialised spa treatment and improve your overall mobility and well-being.