A rest cure, also known as bed rest, is associated with reducing physical or emotional stress, alleviating pain, and allowing the body to catch up on needed sleep. In a bed rest cure, an individual simply rests and relaxes in her bed without physical activity for a period ranging from just a few hours to days or even weeks. The specific benefits of this cure, however, tend to be influenced by the specific medical condition that has led to a need for rest and relaxation.
Physical stress and lack of sleep can be damaging to the body, especially so for individuals who are trying to recover from some type of illness or virus. Consider the flu or pneumonia as an example. These conditions can wreak havoc with the immune system, and if proper treatment steps are not taken, it is possible for a relapse to occur. By allowing the body a one- or two-day bed rest cure, the recovering person can get deep sleep to allow the body to begin healing and repairing itself and strengthen the immune system.
Emotional stress can be caused by the regular activities of life, including going to work, dealing with families, and failing to get enough sleep each night. When depression or a stress overload occurs, however, an individual can begin making poor decisions, become irritable, and have trouble concentrating. Certain major life events, such as failed relationships, losing a job, or dealing with the death of a loved one, can also trigger excessive emotional stress. Although such major issues should not be treated without the intervention of a medical professional, a brief rest cure may be beneficial by helping to promote general well-being.
For those dealing with acute discomfort, one benefit of a short rest cure is pain relief. This usefulness, however, depends on the type of pain that the individual is suffering from. An arthritis sufferer, for instance, may be able to relieve strain on the joints by spending a weekend in bed. For pain management and proper healing, spinal injuries, muscle spasms, and fractured bones may also be treated with bed rest.
Although a rest cure treatment approach may be recommended for a number of medical conditions, it is most frequently prescribed for high-risk pregnancies. For women in this category, bed rest can help prevent going into premature labor or delivery that occurs prior to 37 weeks into the pregnancy. At this stage, the baby could face serious health problems including breathing problems and visual impairments. Additional believed benefits of recumbence for pregnant women include removing excess fluids to reduce swelling and pain, decreasing the risk of a miscarriage, and increasing the blood flow to the baby to prevent growth problems.