The Greek writer Hippocrates first described the benefits of hydrotherapy in the fifth century and hydrotherapy also has a long history in China and Japan. Since ancient times, race horse owners in Western Europe have been swimming their horses in the sea to improve health and fitness. Hydrotherapy was first practiced scientifically by horse owners in the nineteenth-century with the invention of special facilities that imitated the effects of swimming in sea water. Then greyhound racing enthusiasts recognised that they could improve their dogs' fitness with hydrotherapy.
Gradually hydrotherapy came to be used widely, not only as means of improving dogs' fitness, by also for treating injuries and health conditions. In recent years hydrotherapy has become recognised as a valuable therapuetic tool for treating a wide variety of conditions.