Aquatic therapy is a popular complement to traditional land-based physical therapy. This type of therapy is also known as hydrotherapy and aquatic rehabilitation. It takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment. The soothing properties of water appeal to many patients who are seeking to heal their bodies in a supportive environment. Another benefit is you don’t even need to know how to swim!
Goals of Aquatic Therapy
The goals of aquatic therapy include:
- Reducing stress and promoting relaxation
- Improving flexibility and the ability to move
- Building muscle strength and endurance
- Improving coordination and balance
- Assisting with locomotion and gait
- Increasing aerobic capacity for better health
- Enhancing the healing process
Aquatic therapy is a physical medicine that requires the involvement of a trained professional. It often takes place in a group setting. You can find water therapy services at sports medicine clinics, outpatient rehabilitation centers, physical therapy clinics and even in hospitals.
Water therapy has been used for hundreds of years by many cultures. The ancient Romans and Greeks bathed in hot springs for relaxation and to improve circulation. Hippocrates was a great believer in hot springs to heal sickness. Swiss monks were well known to use thermal waters to treat sick people. The Japanese use hot springs to treat skin problems and relieve chronic pain. All around, the benefits of water therapy has been well-known for years.
The Many Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
Water’s natural properties set the stage for a very therapeutic environment. Here are some of its benefits:
- Natural resistance can be used to increase the rehabilitation process and for muscle strengthening
- Buoyancy for flotation, reduces gravity on aching muscles and joints, improving tolerance to movement and exercise
- Hydrostatic pressure, increases support and decreases fear of falling while performing standing exercises
- Soothing and relaxing environment for aching muscles and joints
- Wave propagation and turbulence allow for stabilization training in a controlled and safe environment
- It can help many conditions, including arthritis, chronic pain, lower back pain, orthopedic injuries, sprains, strains and tendonitis.
Pool Therapy Exercise Program
Aquatic therapy sessions typically start with a warm-up that can include brief walking and stretches. You will then complete low-resistance exercises to target the affected areas. Depending on your goals and level of functioning after the warm-up, you can perform an array of exercises ranging from gentle movements to resisted sprinting. Your pool therapy exercise program can also be tailored to meet your unique needs. Whether you have shoulder or ankle pain, there is a program for you.
Would you like to know more about how aquatic therapy can help you recover from an injury or medical condition that’s causing you pain or weakness? Would you like to know how our physical therapists can integrate water therapy into your treatment plan? Call MVPT today . We are always happy to answer any questions!