A sitz bath is a form of hydrotherapy in which the hips and buttocks are immersed in water. Sitz baths are used for relief of pain and discomfort in the pelvic area.
Cold Sitz Bath
Harold Reilly, a physiotherapist who received many referrals from Edgar Cayce, recommended the use of sitz baths for a variety of problems requiring increased circulation to the lower abdomen. For a cold sitz bath, Reilly suggested that the tub be filled to to a depth of six to nine inches of water (up to the navel in sitting position). Have this water at about tap temperature, 60-65 degrees. Cover your shoulders and back with a towel. Be careful when stepping into the tub. Just sit down without thinking about it. Keep your feet up and out of the water by bracing them against the end of the tub or placing them on a plastic foot rest.
Slowly count to sixty. Carefully get out of the tub and wrap yourself in a towel or get into a robe. Go to bed and relax for at least 30 minutes.
Preferably, take the cold sitz bath after the body has been warmed by exercise or lying in bed under blankets. Don't take a cold sitz bath if you are feeling cold. You can gradually increase the time of the cold sitz bath up to three minutes.
Hot Sitz Bath
Reilly also used hot sitz baths (100 - 106 degrees) primarily to relax and warm up the body. It can be used as a prelude to the cold sitz bath.
Hot and Cold Sitz Bath
Reilly also alternated between hot and cold sitz baths wherein the client would go back and forth between the hot and cold tubs up to three times during each session. Here is a description of the alternating hot and cold sitz bath method as described by Joseph and Sandra Duggan in their book Edgar Cayce's Massage, Hydrotherapy & Healing Oils:
"Two tubs are used that look like large easy chairs. They are designed to keep only the hips and pelvic area in the water while the feet remain on the floor. One tub contains warm water, 100 - 106 degrees, and the other contains cold water, 60 - 65 degrees. Beginning with warm water, one alternates sitting three times for two to four minutes, ending with the cold tub."