Aquatic therapy includes the treatment, rehabilitation and health of a patient in an aquatic environment.
In addition to our many other services, we are also proud to provide our patients with aquatic therapy when appropriate.
Aqua therapy may be used in conjunction with physical therapy or occupational therapy or independently and may or may not also include supplemental devices or equipment to help achieve the patient’s goals.
Is Aquatic Therapy the Same Thing as Aquatic Exercise?
Aquatic therapy is very different from aquatic exercise. Aquatic therapy requires the supervision and direction of a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. This therapy must adhere to the therapy standards of care and be used to improve a patient’s physical health. Because it is part of a medical treatment plan, aquatic therapy may be covered by your medical insurance provider. Aquatic exercise, on the other hand, is typically used for fitness or health-related goals and is not performed under the care of a licensed therapist.
Who can benefit from Aquatic Therapy?
Water therapy can help people of all ages and a wide array of injuries. From pediatrics to seniors, aquatic therapy has something to offer for just about everyone. This type of therapy can improve flexibility, accelerate healing of an injury, increase strength, improve balance and coordination, and relieve stress. With all of these potential benefits, aquatic therapy can be used to treat a number of conditions such as balance disorders, chronic pain, back pain, surgical recovery and many different types of arthritis.
When working with skilled therapists, patients can find that there are many benefits to this type of treatment. Aquatic therapy benefits may include:
Less stress on joints and injured parts of the body
When receiving treatment in the water, the body provides a uniform weightless feeling. The water surrounds the body and while much more resistance exists, there is far less impact on the joints. Reduced joint pressure can mean less pain and an easier path for healing.
Improved strength training
Water is far more resistant than air, providing much of a challenge for strength training. Aquatic therapy can provide a demanding full body workout and an opportunity to strengthen any or all of your muscle groups.
Healing and relaxation
Warm pool therapy uses warm water to increase circulation and promote muscle relaxation. For injured areas, this means a feeling of soothing and pain relief. Warm water can also increase blood flow and stimulate the immune system helping to stimulate healing.
The buoyancy effect of water allows a patient greater range of motion. It also helps support a patient who may be suffering from a balance disorder. The equal distribution of pressure that water provides may help support a patient while he or she works to improve and maintain balance. In addition, the buoyancy of water may provide weight relief and increase a patient’s comfort level allowing him or her to exercise or strength train without pain.
Improved respiratory health
The respiratory system is forced to work much harder in water than on land. This increased force and demand on the system can be leveraged to treat respiratory issues and improve respiratory health. Depending on the condition and goals of the patient, the therapist may start the level at waist deep and slowly increase the level incrementally when appropriate.
Physical and emotional confidence
Water rehabilitation is more than just a physical exercise, it has an important emotional and mental benefit as well. Patients may find that they can accomplish much more in water than on land. Increases in range of motion and ability without excess pain can greatly improve a patient’s level of confidence and improve his or her mental outlook dramatically. Optimism and hope can help spur a patient on to more success in meeting his or her goals creating a cycle of positive outcomes. Mental, emotional and physical health are all key components of recovery and aquatic therapy can improve all three.
While water rehabilitation has been an established type of therapy for some time, if this is your first experience with aquatic therapy, you may worry that it will be awkward or difficult.
Patients do not need to know how to swim to enjoy the benefits of this treatment. Exercises and techniques will be specific to the patient’s injury to long-term goals and may not require submersion. If aquatic therapy is deemed necessary as part of your treatment plan your therapist will work with you to ensure that you are comfortable with the water and exercises that you will be working with. You will be working with a licensed and skilled professional that will guide you through the treatment that will best help you heal, strengthen or relax.
Aquatic therapy offers unique benefits to our patients. When you choose aquatic therapy, you have a team of professionals to assist you. Your treatment plan and implementation will both be coordinated by our team of licensed experts. Licensed therapists must complete a predetermined number of hours and pass an exam to earn an additional aquatic therapy credential. This licensing is in addition to the physical therapist degree. Our team has the knowledge and understanding of water therapy to best benefit our patients. We carefully examine each patient’s case and map out the treatment plan that gives the best opportunities for healing and health.