Why Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic Therapy is the best prescription for patients that have difficulty tolerating other types of therapy. It allows one to exercise in a partially un-weighted environment that decreases pressure on the joints. Aquatic therapy is provided in a pool where the water temperature is kept between 92-94 degrees; water at this temperature promotes reduced muscle and joint soreness and is effective for pain relief. Aquatic therapy aids in muscle strength, joint flexibility, cardiovascular fitness, and ambulation skills. Specifically designed activities can enhance and restore a person’s functional abilities.
What are the benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
After an injury, illness, or surgery, a patient’s pain may be increased or the ability to bear weight may be limited. In water, the pull of gravity on the body is not as strong as on land, therefore functional activity and motion are more comfortable. Water supports the body, reduces joint stress, and provides assistance and resistance to movement. It allows patients to improve mobility, and function. Other benefits include:
- Improved muscle strength
- Decreased pain and stiffness
- Reduced joint and soft tissue swelling
- Increased range of motion
- Increased relaxation
- Increased flexibility
- Improved balance and coordination
- Cardiovascular conditioning
Who benefits from aquatic therapy?
Aquatic therapy can help many patients with conditions such as:
- Deconditioning / fatigue
- Chronic and severe pain
- Balance and ambulation problems
- Low back pain
- Joint replacements
- Various pre and post surgical conditions
- Stroke or neurological impairment
- Connective Tissue Disorders
- Orthopedic Injuries – shoulder, hip, knee, elbow, ankle, and foot
- Athletic Injuries
Four components of aquatic therapy that “land based” therapy does not offer.
- Buoyancy - provides an upward thrust on the body reducing gravitational forces. It decreases weight bearing on the body making movements less painful and reduces joint compression forces.
- Hydrostatic Pressure – The water that surrounds the body helps circulate the blood from the legs to the heart, decreasing any swelling in the feet and ankles
- Resistance – Allows for improved balance and strength.
- Heat – Aquatic therapy is provided in a heated pool, the temperature ranges from 92-94 degrees. The warm water helps to relax muscles and allows improved joint range of motion.
Aquatic therapy may not be right for everyone. It is important to consult with your physician to decide if aquatic therapy is right for you. There are certain contraindications and precautions that must be considered before starting an aquatic therapy program. Individuals with excessive fear of water, open wounds, active infections, uncontrolled seizure activity, inability to adjust to fluid loss (kidney disease), and inability to regulate body temperature and bodily fluids are not always appropriate for aquatic therapy.
What do I do if I need therapy?
Talk with your doctor regarding your concerns and request an order for speech therapy. Then, call our office at (304) 363-3167 to make an appointment.