Aquatic therapy is a type of physical therapy performed in the water. Gentle on joints, aquatic therapy uses the resistance of water instead of weights to heal, strengthen and create endurance for people recovering from injury or illness.
Aquatic therapy is provided in a heated pool with temperatures ranging from 92 to 96 degrees F. The warm water relaxes muscles, increases blood flow and improves joint range of motion. The aqua therapy pool is equipped with technology to enhance therapeutic methods and serve a broader range of patient needs. This includes a lift with a 500-pound weight capacity and 360-degree powered rotation in either direction, an underwater treadmill system and massage jets. Licensed physical or occupational therapists develop an individualized program to meet your needs.
Individualized programs may include:
- Deep Water Walking: This offers a reduction in force to joints and pain relief, and is mainly used for back rehabilitation programs to develop muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
- Shallow Water Walking: This offers a potential increase in metabolism, balance and coordination; it can also contribute to increased strength in atrophied muscles due to an injury, illness, deconditioning or surgery.
Aqua therapy offers the following benefits:
- Buoyancy: Buoyancy acts as a support for the spine and extremities relieving pain/discomfort during exercise. It also decreases stress on muscles, joints, discs and bones.
- Heat: Warm water relaxes muscles, allows for increased blood flow and improves joint range of motion.
- Hydrostatic Pressure: This pressure benefits individuals who may have swelling in their lower extremities, legs and ankles. It helps to reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension while exercising, and it reduces the perception of pain.
- Resistance/Viscosity: This refers to the internal friction specific to fluid. Since the water surrounds the extremity or body part, strength is developed in all directions of movement. Resistance also increases the body’s sensory awareness.
A doctor’s referral/order is required to participate in aquatic physical or occupational therapy.
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