The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
Aquatic therapy is beneficial for a variety of medical conditions. When you use the physical properties of water to aid in your healing and exercise performance, you can see great results easier and sooner.
How is Aquatic Therapy Different From Regular Physical Therapy?
A pool provides an environment that allows patients to achieve movements that may be unattainable on dry land because of factors like pain, weakness, or inability to bear the weight. Aquatic therapy provides a number of advantages, including:
- Less pressure: The buoyancy of the water decreases the amount of pressure on your joints and spine. When you’re immersed in water up to your neck, the weight pressing down on your body can be reduced by 90%. If the water is up to your waist, the pressure can be reduced by 50%. This is especially helpful after surgery when you need to be careful about how much weight is placed on the surgical site.
- Reduced swelling: The pressure of the water can help to move fluid from the injured area back into the body. Decreasing swelling is essential because it allows you to regain the strength and motion needed for recovery.
- Ease of movement: Water supports and assists movement. This allows for a safe and pain-free setting to focus on building strength and range of motion.
What Are the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
Pre-Surgical Therapy (or Prehab)
Pre-surgical therapy is sometimes recommended for those preparing for joint replacements. Aquatic therapy helps patients lose weight and/or improve walking, endurance, and balance in a safe and fun environment. For prehab, a physical therapist works with you to create a personalized program to help you achieve your goal & become a viable candidate for joint replacement surgery.
Starting pool therapy at least six weeks prior to joint replacement surgery is optimal (unless further weight loss or other rehab goals are necessary to become a joint replacement candidate). Studies suggest that patients participating in aquatic therapy leading up to their surgery experience a faster return to their regular activities.
By reducing the force of gravity on your body, you can move more easily and with less pain. This protects your joints by minimizing the weight-bearing stress. And, it can relax your sore muscles to minimize or eliminate the pain while moving them.
Enhance the Healing Process and Recovery Time
While recovering from an injury where you are restricted from fully bearing weight on a joint, the water provides an environment that decreases or eliminates your body weight forces. Water continually creates a force that pushes back on you, known as hydrostatic pressure. This is extremely helpful in facilitating improved circulation and decreasing swelling – in turn enhancing the healing process. It also helps to decrease joint tenderness, improve range of motion, and decrease your recovery time.
Build Muscle Strength and Endurance
When you move through the water, the viscosity and drag forces of the water help you to strengthen your muscles and improve your activity tolerance to be able to complete daily activities. It can also improve your aerobic capacity and breathing function for overall better health.
Improve Flexibility and Mobility
Exercising in warm water helps to promote muscle relaxation and improved circulation, which can decrease muscle guarding and spasms. The water can also help you raise painful or swollen limbs, allowing you to see improvements in your mobility with less pain in the process.
Improve Coordination and Balance
While in the pool, your body is constantly responding to the pressure and movement of the water around you. This helps to improve your reaction time, strengthen your muscles, and improve your balance and coordination of movement. Water also provides you with a feeling of support around you, decreasing your fear of falling and helping you to relax.
How Do I Get Started?
If you’re interested in learning more about aquatic therapy in the Evansville area, please contact us. We’re here to help you every step of the way!