Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
Rehabilitation in the water provides many benefits over land-based therapy including:
- Weight bearing—Exercise in water produces less spinal and lower extremity loading than the identical exercise performed on land.
- Thermal effect—Exercise in water provides a palliative thermal effect.
- Movement freedom—Exercise in water promotes more movement freedom, reduces stiffness and improves ROM while diminishing pain.
- Physical Conditioning—Exercise in water promotes physical conditioning.
- Somatosensory input—Movement of a body part through water increases somatosensory input, facilitating movement re-education.
- Safety—Patients may be challenged beyond limits of stability in water without the fear of injury from falling.
- Reduced effort—Standing in water results in a reduction in motor activity required from postural muscles.
- Improved psychological mood—Exercise in water promotes socialization and promotes psychological wellbeing.
- Improved sleep—Patients often report sleeping better and with less pain after aquatic therapy. This is especially effective with fibromyalgia.
- Improved access—Working in water allows the therapist better access to the patient.
Who can benefit from aquatic therapy?
Patients with a wide range of injuries and indications can benefit from aquatic therapy. Aquatic therapy is especially effective for the following indications:
- Back and neck pain
- Post-op, including hip, knee, arm and shoulder
- Arthritic conditions
- Postural weakness
- Ankle and foot injuries
- Sports injuries
- Gait training
- Chronic pain
- Work related injuries
- Repetitive stress injuries
What Happens at an Aquatic Therapy Session?
Patients do not have to know how to swim to participate in Aquatic Physical Therapy.Each session is individually designed to meet the patient's needs and utilizes different equipment depending upon the nature of the condition.
Treatment may include a warm-up followed by balance and stabilization exercises, strengthening, etc.
A pool session may last from 30 minutes to one hour.Land exercises and manual or hands-on therapy may also be prescribed in a patient's plan of treatment.