The benefits of exercising in water are well-known. Muscular strength, physical fitness, and range of movement can all be maintained and increased. Balance and coordination can be improved and pain decreased.
What is Aquatic Physiotherapy?
Aquatic Physiotherapy, often called hydrotherapy, is a specific form of physiotherapy treatment conducted in a heated pool.
Aquatic Physiotherapy can help relieve pain, promote relaxation, mobilise joints, strengthen muscles, develop balance and coordination, and improve general fitness.
Aquatic Physiotherapy treatment (individually or in groups) incorporates individual assessment, diagnosis and the use of clinical reasoning skills to formulate a treatment program appropriate to each patient’s needs.
By combining hands-on pool based physiotherapy treatment techniques and specifically designed exercises supervised by physiotherapists with specific training in Aquatic Physiotherapy, hydrotherapy helps regain or enhance physical well being in a warm relaxing environment.
How does it work?
A series of gentle therapeutic exercises (distinct from swimming or aqua-aerobics) carried out in a heated pool (34oC) allow greater comfort and range of movement as the water supports body weight. Therapeutic exercises can be progressed safely using the resistance of the water to strengthen the muscles and improve stability.
The warmth increases circulation, reduces muscle-spasm, and helps to relieve pain.
Patients do not need to be able to swim in order to benefit from Aquatic Physiotherapy. Aquatic Physiotherapy may be used alone or in conjunction with other rehabilitation programs.
An aquatic program is often a stepping stone for patients to progress onto gym or land based exercise programs.
The rehabilitation program can also include appropriate exercises to maintain fitness, while recovering from sports injuries or orthopaedic surgery.
What conditions can Aquatic Physiotherapy benefit?
Some of the many conditions that can benefit from an individualised Aquatic Physiotherapy program include:
- Back pain/sciatica/ lumbar instability
- Whiplash & other neck pain
- Sports injuries
- Balance/coordination problems
- Shoulder and arm pain
- Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis & Fibromyalgia
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Parkinson’s Disease & stroke
- Cerebral Palsy
- Back and pelvic pain during pregnancy
- Work and accident related injuries
- Rehabilitation after bone fractures, joint replacement or tendon repair
What are some of the properties of warm water?
- Hydrostatic Pressure
What are the therapeutic benefits of exercise in warm water?
- Muscular relaxation and decreased muscle spasm.
- Decreased pain due to warmth and support. Gravity is countered by buoyancy.
- Increased muscle strength and endurance due to the greater resistance in water.
- Improvement in swelling, due to hydrostatic pressure.
- Enhanced balance and stabilisation.
- Improved enjoyment and confidence to move better.
Aquatic Physiotherapy has been shown to bring pain relief, combined with long lasting improvements in joint mobility and muscle strength.