Aquatic physical therapy, or hydrotherapy, is a lesser-known gem in the rehabilitation world. While it is a lesser-known treatment, it is one of the oldest forms of therapy. Using water as therapy can be traced back to ancient times. Ancient Greeks and Romans used hot springs for a variety of benefits. In more recent times, even President Franklin Roosevelt used this treatment to help treat his polio. Unlike traditional physical therapy treatments, it’s performed in a pool or other aquatic environment. This treatment uses the unique properties of water to help healing and improve physical function. Water’s buoyancy helps reduce the impact on joints. This can make movements easier and less painful. The natural resistance of water can also help build muscle strength and improve overall flexibility.
How aquatic therapy can help your healing
Aquatic therapy is a research-backed, efficient physical therapy treatment. The number of people who seek its benefits should continue to rise as the awareness of the therapy’s benefits spreads. Benefits of aquatic therapy include:
- Lower fall risk — Some people with issues with balance and stability may find that land-based physical therapy doesn’t meet their needs. Water therapy can help reduce the risk of falls and fall injuries by providing them with a safe, controlled environment for them to exercise. This can help alleviate the fear of stumbling or hurting themselves during rehabilitation.
- Helping with balance coordination — The benefits aren’t limited to just the water. Water slows down movements and acts as a safety net. It can help improve your balance while you work in the water. This improvement can carry over into your movements on land. This can help boost your confidence and lessen your fear of falling.
- Reducing stress on joints and bones — When you are in the water, it reduces your body weight. This buoyancy can provide much-needed relief to joints, muscles and bones. It can help reduce the strain you are experiencing. This helps to make exercises safer and less painful.
- Building muscle strength and endurance — Water is denser than air. This can make it double the workout due to the resistance the water provides. It challenges your muscles and helps you build your strength and endurance. Despite the increased challenge, it’s gentle. It provides you with a great workout without extra stress or strain.
- Increasing aerobic capacity — Cardiovascular health is crucial. Exercise helps to boost your aerobic capacity. Aquatic therapy can open the door to aerobic exercises without the pain some traditional exercises can cause.
- Improving joint flexibility — Warm water can help relax your muscles, which can make it easier for you to move stiff joints. This makes aquatic therapy an excellent choice for arthritis or similar joint problems.
- Reducing swelling — Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure of water against your body while you’re in the pool. This pressure can help increase circulation and reduce swelling. Reducing swelling can make movement easier and less painful.
- Age-friendliness — Aquatic therapy can benefit people of all ages, from young children to older adults.
Conditions that aquatic physical therapy can help
Aquatic therapy is a versatile treatment option that can be beneficial for a variety of conditions. It can help manage conditions and injuries like:
- Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis).
- Back pain.
- Car accident injuries.
- Chronic pain.
- Circulation issues.
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Heart disease.
- Joint pain.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle spasms.
- Orthopedic injuries.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Post-surgery recovery.
- Sports injuries.
- Sprains and strains.
Who should avoid aquatic physical therapy?
While aquatic therapy boasts many benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. People with open wounds, infections, bowel/bladder leaks, or contagious diseases should avoid aquatic therapy. This can help prevent the spread of infection. You should also take caution if you cannot swim. People with certain cardiovascular conditions or breathing problems should consult their health care provider before beginning aquatic therapy. This is to ensure their safety based on their specific needs.
Aquatic physical therapy stands out as a gentle approach to rehabilitation that can provide effective results. It’s a valuable tool to help provide people dealing with various health injuries, much sought-after pain relief, improved mobility and boosted overall quality of life.
Aquatic physical therapy can be the healing waters for a healthier you at Lattimore PT
Lattimore PT transforms the physical therapy experience with aquatic therapy. In the tranquil waters, you can find pain relief and a path to improved mobility, strength and overall well-being. Guided by our team of expert physical therapists, you can regain your confidence and foster a renewed sense of independence. Every session in our aquatic environment is not just a treatment, it’s a step toward a healthier and happier life.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.