There are many things aquatic therapy is good for. Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy performed in water, and is commonly used to treat those with consistent pain, neurological issues, and musculoskeletal issues, as well as for rehabilitation. Aquatic therapy involves treatments and specialized exercises that the therapist has the client perform while floating, partially submerged, or fully submerged in water. Here are six things you should know about what aquatic therapy is good for.
Because of the natural buoyancy of water, aquatic therapy is good for reducing pain. Buoyancy combined with the hydrostatic pressure – the force of the water against one’s body – cause a weightless sensation. This reduces pressure on the joints, weight-bearing stress, and decreases inflammation. The cushioning effect of water makes it easier to move, increasing one’s range of motion. This makes aquatic therapy good for those with chronic pain, pain related to injuries, persistent back/ankle/etc pain, and more.
Water enacts natural resistance against one’s body. This makes aquatic therapy good for increasing strength. When one starts aquatic therapy, it is typically with little to no resistance besides what the water causes. Because of the hydrostatic pressure, your muscles naturally work harder in water. This means that increasing the speed of your movements makes them harder, which in turn, makes you stronger, without the risk of impact-related injuries. Therapists can increase resistance by introducing weights, floats, paddles, and the like. This makes aquatic therapy good for those rehabilitating from surgeries or injuries or the like.
Increasing Flexibility and Balance
Since water cushions you and lessens how much weight is on your joints, your range of motion improves. This makes it easier to increase your flexibility. Since water also heightens your awareness of your body, it makes you focus more on your balance so that you can do the exercises and stay upright. This heightened awareness of your body will translate to your balance on land, as well.
Improves Cardiovascular and Muscular Endurance
Since your muscles naturally work harder in water, so does your respiratory system. This means your heart does too. The harder your muscles work, the harder your heart works to get blood to them. This increases your muscular and cardiovascular endurance, in addition to improving your overall circulation. Improved circulation also means improved healing rates, as good blood flow is key to recovery. This is another reason why aquatic therapy is good for those in rehabilitation.
Provides An Alternative Means of Exercise
Aquatic therapy is good for those who recently sustained an injury or have chronic issues, but it is also good as a means of exercise for those with disabilities. The buoyancy of water provides a way for those who find it difficult to exercise on land to do so in the water, as it supports weak muscles. The therapist is also right there, ready to assist. The natural resistance helps those with tremors and other involuntary movements, creating a feeling of control that the patient may not otherwise have out of the water.
Decreases Stress and Anxiety
The hydrostatic pressure of water also makes aquatic therapy good for psychological issues, such as stress and anxiety. Pressure is proven to help ease anxiety, so it makes sense why being in the water would lessen it. The equal pressure around your body and the lessening of tactile sensations provide a calming environment that relieves stress and anxiety.
If you or someone you know suffers from pain, are looking for a way to rehabilitate after a surgery or injury, want a way to exercise that is less stressful on your joints, or want to increase your body’s capabilities, you may consider aquatic therapy. Here at Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy, we offer aquatic therapy, in addition to a range of services to protect your health and both prevent and help your body recover from injuries. For more information about aquatic therapy or any of the other services we offer at Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy, contact us today!