Aquatic therapy, or pool therapy, consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical conditions. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise performance.
About Aquatic Therapy
The viscosity of water provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily incorporated into an aquatic therapy exercise program. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need of weights. Using resistance coupled with the water’s buoyancy allows a person to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that cannot be experienced on land.
Aquatic therapy utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling. This is important for patients who have experienced joint sprains. The hydrostatic pressure also assists in decreasing joint and soft tissue swelling that results after injury or with arthritic disorders.
Lastly, the warmth of the water experienced during aquatic therapy assists in relaxing muscles and the vasodilation of the vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, and fibromyalgia find this aspect of aquatic therapy especially therapeutic.
It is important to know, however, that aquatic therapy is not for everyone. People with cardiac disease should not participate in aquatic therapy. Those who have fevers, infections, or bowel/bladder incontinence are also not candidates for aquatic therapy. Always discuss this with your physician before beginning an aquatic therapy program.