What is Aqua Therapy?
Water has been, and still remains, the best environment to achieve full function regardless of the injury. Water improves motion and flexibility. The warmth of the water (94°F) and its massaging effects allow muscles to relax while helping to reduce pain. The natural buoyancy reduces gravitational pull and lessens compressive forces, hence making exercises much easier to perform than on land. Best of all, aquatic therapy can be used even if a patient does not know how to swim.
Benefits of Aqua Therapy
There are unique advantages to aqua therapy due to buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, water viscosity, turbulence, and the temperature of the water. These include:
- Muscle relaxation
- Increased peripheral circulation
- Gentle resistance for strength training
- Stimulated body awareness, balance, and trunk stability
- Decreased pain sensitivity
- Reduced apprehension of falling or pain during exercise
- Ability to stand and begin gait training and strengthening without causing damage to healing structures
There is a vast population that can benefit from this program including, but not limited to:
- All Orthopedic Conditions
- Back pain
- Cerebral Palsy
- CVA/Neurological Impairments
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post and pre-operative joint replacement
- Spinal impairments
How it Works
Aqua therapy provides patients with a weightless feeling which reduces stress on joints and increases mobility. The water also creates a gentile resistance that gives patients a reduction in pain during strengthening. Aqua therapy caters to a large population. It can be used for balance, core strength, and gait training for patients that are looking for a safe option with a reduced fall risk. Utilizing an underwater treadmill allows patients to improve their gait using non-impact means, which enables therapists to address muscle imbalances in gait in a supported environment. Aqua therapy is great for endurance athletes looking for an active recovery. The underwater treadmill provides athletes with a workout that will maintain their cardiovascular fitness while reducing impact on the injured area.
The use of equipment such as paddles, noodles, buoyancy vests, kick boards, and fins can offer support or resistance depending on the patient’s needs. When the therapist feels the patient is ready, they will transition the patient to land-based exercises to further reach the therapy goals.
Best of all, patients don’t need to know how to swim to use the pool. All of the exercises can be done without submersion, so a fear of water can be addressed and a gradual approach can be taken.
What to Expect
When walking into the HydroWorx pool at Active Physical Therapy, patients will not smell the expected chlorine, but bromine, a chemical not as harsh to the skin or the nose as chlorine. The water is kept at a temperature of 94 degrees for therapeutic purposes.
A physical therapist or physical therapy assistant will take the patient through a series of personalized exercises designed to help meet the patient’s goal for rehab of the injury. The patient will work one-on-one with the therapist for 45 minutes to an hour. All therapy is tailored to the patient’s abilities and aims to help the patient gain mobility, strength and balance, and to feel more confident doing day-to-day activities.
Whether you’ve had a recent surgery such as a total knee or hip replacement, a ligament or tendon repair, spinal surgery, or have generalized weakness, pain, or difficulty with your work activities, aqua therapy can be an excellent option to address your specific condition in a low-impact environment.