Aquatic Physical Therapy consists of exercises, stretches, and relaxation techniques performed in a heated pool and has been proven to be a beneficial form of therapy for a variety of medical conditions. Aquatic Therapy uses the properties of water to assist in patients' healing and exercise performance.
Once in the pool, the buoncy of water assists in supporting the weight of the patient. This decreases the amount of weight bearing and stress on a patients joints. By doing Aquatic Therapy patients with arthritis, healing bone fractures, back issues, or those who are overweight can exercise with less pain. Combined with natural viscosity, or thickness of the water, it makes it great for resistance exercises. This allows for muscle strengthening without the weight. However, weights can be incorporated later in an exercise program to maximize strength and prepare the patient for land based therapy.
Aquatic Therapy also utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling and improve proprioception. The hydrostatic pressure of the water puts a slight force on the body, assisting patients to remain upright. This helps joints improve their positional awareness or where your body is in space. This is important for patients who have joint sprains, torn ligaments, or balance issues.
A big part of the therapeutic experience is the warmth of the water. This assists in muscle relaxation and vasodilation to bring good blood flow to the body. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, fibromyalgia, and arthritis find this aspect of the therapy especially helpful and relaxing.
It is important to know that Aquatic Therapy is not for everyone. People with uncontrolled cardiac problems, fever, infections, open sores, bowel or bladder incontinence are not good candidates for Aquatic Therapy. Aquatic Therapy is safe for most.