On Sunday, February 7, Jennifer Calvelage, head of Health Ministries, partnered with Julie Klein
to offer a hydrotherapy experience. In total, eight persons attended the class and learned simple,
natural remedies for common illnesses. The class was designed to be small in order to optimize the
teaching and learning experience.
The class focused on hydrotherapy—the use of water as a treatment for sickness—which is a
natural remedy given to us by God. Ellen White talks about the importance of water treatments. She
says, “Water treatments, wisely and skillfully given, may be the means of saving many lives” (Medical
Missionary, p. 57).
Many people have never heard of hydrotherapy—they don’t know what it is, let alone how to
perform it. That’s why Julie and Jennifer paired up to do this class—to enlighten our church members on
how to use the remedies God has given us, that they may go forth and share their knowledge with
others. While Julie focused on teaching and preparing information to educate on both water treatments
and charcoal, Jennifer prepared and gathered supplies, including sewing the pads used in the
fomentations. Lindsey Mills also stepped in to offer her knowledge on how to perform these types of
remedies on oneself—in other words, when there is no one around to help you give yourself a
But what is hydrotherapy? Hydrotherapy consists of hot and cold water treatments, such as hot
fomentations, contrast showers, or foot baths. There are many different ways to do hydrotherapy, and
many were discussed during the class. The main principal is alternating hot and cold.
Julie taught the group how to do fomentations by having a live demonstration while class
participants followed the example. Hot pads are applied to the chest and back for two to three minutes.
After that, the patient is rubbed down with cold friction mitts (which are just towels sewn together and
dipped in ice-cold water).
Those who attended the class were given the opportunity to participate in a hands-on
experience. Everyone had a partner, and with their partner, the attendees practiced the hydrotherapy
treatments. First, one person was the “doctor” and performed the hydrotherapy, and then the “doctor”
and “patient” switched, giving everyone a chance to experience not only administering the treatments
but also receiving them. This can help in giving treatment to others in the future by knowing what the
treatment feels like so the patient can be monitored properly. It can get quite toasty with the hot
fomentation pads, and you can run the risk of burns if you are not careful.
But why hot and cold? Why do you apply hot pads to the chest and back for three minutes and
then rub down with cold friction for thirty seconds? Isn’t that too simple to be effective?
Not at all! The alternating hot and cold increases circulation of the blood in the body. In
addition, placing hot and cold on the chest and back draws white blood cells to the area. White blood
cells are essential for healing.
What about a foot bath? Placing one’s feet in hot water also helps with circulation. “Perfect
health,” says Ellen White, “depends upon perfect circulation” (Healthful Living, p. 30).
Another treatment on which God has given us counsel is the use of charcoal as a natural
remedy. The group was given the opportunity to make their very own charcoal poultice, mixing oat
flour, charcoal, and water before spreading it onto a hospital pad.
Why charcoal? Simply because charcoal is absorbent. It will draw out toxins from your body, and
because of this, Ellen White recommended the use of charcoal many times in her writings.
These treatments, then, assist the body by improving circulation and drawing toxins from the
body. God has given us, through the Spirit of Prophecy, counsel on how to maintain our health. How
blessed we are to have a God who cares about His creation’s health—so much so that He sent counsel
through His prophet!