Simply put, aquatic physical therapy is physical therapy performed in the water.
What are the benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
- Because of the buoyancy of the water the patient is able to perform exercises with greatly reduced weight being put through the injured area. For example if you are submerged to your breastbone, roughly 75% of your body weight is being supported by the water.
- Hydrostatic pressure
- The uniform pressure exerted on the body by water when submerged acts as a stabilizing force, allowing the patient more time to make corrections when loss of balance occurs or in the event of poor joint mechanics.
- Another large benefit to this pressure is the stabilizing force that it adds to unstable joints, such as following an injury to the knee or lower back.
- This pressure also aids the body by helping to reuptake fluid and increase blood flow making this a great way to reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
- Water viscosity
- The viscosity of the water naturally adds resistance to motions when submerged. What is great about this is that the patient is always in control of the resistance. As the patient increases speed of movement the resistance increases and as the patient slows down resistance decreases allowing the patient to find their perfect level of challenge.
- Water temperature
- Warm water helps to promote muscle relaxation, leading to decreased pain of tense and stiff areas.
Who can benefit from Aquatic Therapy?
- Aquatic Therapy is especially beneficial to those with arthritis, having difficulty with balance, post operative patients, those who are unable to fully bear weight through their lower extremities, low back, knee, foot, ankle or hip pain, or those who’s weight makes mobility difficult.