WHAT IS AQUATIC THERAPY?
Aquatic therapy is movement-based therapy that takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional. It is also known as water therapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy, therapeutic aquatic exercise or hydrotherapy. Rehabilitation in the water is beneficial for a variety of medical conditions because it uses the physical properties of water to assist in healing and exercise performance. It consists of a variety of treatments and exercises and are specifically designed to provide relief of pain, increase mobility, improve conditioning, and strengthen muscles.
Aquatic therapy is different from aquatic exercise or aquatic fitness because it is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that requires the involvement of a trained professional and is covered by many insurance providers due to the personalized nature of the treatment. Aquatic exercise does not need to be supervised by a trained professional. It is also not covered by insurance, and it often takes place in a group setting that includes multiple people with different levels of physical fitness.
The healing power of water has been recognized since 2,400 B.C. across many cultures, and has evolved today to be used for recreational and rehabilitative purposes. As human beings, we rely on water as the key element to our daily survival. So, it's no surprise that water has such power to heal
What Are The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
- Improved flexibility, balance and coordination
- Builds muscle strength and endurance
- Correction of poor posture
- Assists with improvement/recovery of gait and locomotion
- Reduces muscle spasm, pain and swelling
- Eases anxiety, stress, depression and anger
- Improves sleep and energy
- Accelerates injury and surgery healing
- Minimizes perception of pain and stimulates relaxation
- Accelerates recovery of function for daily life
- Fun and enjoyment of the rehabilitation process
Another important advantage of aquatic therapy is that it can often begin before land-based rehabilitation. If you are looking to get back to the important things in life as quickly as possible, a water-based program is the natural choice for you!
How Does It Work?
Even though there is lots of scientific evidence to support the benefits of engaging in aquatic exercise for healing and recovery, clients report that movement is not only easier in the water, but it is less painful, and therefore promotes earlier recovery. Through client reports and firsthand observations, it is known that therapeutic aquatic exercise works!
These are some of the ways that water's natural properties create an ideal therapeutic environment:
- Warm water provides a relaxing and soothing environment for aching joints and muscles.
- Water's natural resistance can be used for muscle strengthening and increasing rehabilitation progressions.
- Buoyancy allows for flotation and reduces the effects of gravity on injured or aching joints and muscles.
- Hydrostatic pressure supports and stabilizes, allowing people with balance deficits to perform exercises without a fear of falling, decreasing pain and improving cardiovascular return.
- Turbulence and wave propagation let the Kinesiologist gently manipulate you through the desired exercises.
- The respiratory muscles are forced to work harder in the water, allowing for a natural strengthening that benefits you long after the therapy session has ended.
Compared to other forms of physical therapy, aquatic therapy results in a higher compliance rate and less pain throughout the recovery process. Opportunities to significantly minimize the pain experienced should be taken seriously because with less pain, a higher quality of life can be enjoyed.
What Can You Expect?
When used as a modality, therapy consists of a variety of treatments and water-specific exercises that are performed in a range of depths and in a combination of water temperatures ranging from 84F/29C (lap pool) to 92F/33C (warm therapeutic pool). The type and intensity of exercise, water depth and temperature are specific to an individual's injury or condition and stage of recovery.
To ensure personalized and optimal treatment benefits, all sessions are 50 minutes and provided one-on-one.
Various medical conditions can make it painful to exercise on a hard surface, such as land, or while standing. Water provides a gentler, more welcoming environment.