Aquatic Therapy Helps You Heal Faster
Aquatic Therapy, or hydrotherapy, is an effective treatment option that has been shown to decrease rehabilitation time by 30%-40% when initiated early. Aquatic Therapy offers many advantages and benefits to individuals recovering from all phases of injury or illness. The scope of patient diagnoses treated using Aquatic Therapy is surprisingly vast, encompassing everything from post-surgical, non-surgical, orthopaedic, rheumatologic, and neurological to chronic pain.
What is Aquatic Therapy? Aquatic Therapy consists of a combination of low-impact exercise that utilizes resistance (current flow) to help relax the body and provide gentle relief. The programs are designed to meet the specific needs of each patient and all of the exercises are performed in a temperature-controlled (92-94 degrees) pool under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. It is the therapeutic properties of the water combined with the skill and specialized training of the aquatic therapist that helps patients improve their mobility and function. The patient does not have to be a swimmer to participate in or benefit from water therapy.
Aquatic Therapy is often used to treat the following conditions:
- Low Back Dysfunction
- Post-Surgical Reconstruction and Debridement
- Total Joint Replacement
- Chronic Pain
- Pre- and Post-Partum
- Muscle Strains
- Ligament Sprains
- Deconditioned Patient/Athlete
- Low Tolerance to Land Exercises
Some benefits of Aquatic Therapy supported by research include:
- Decreased rehabilitation time if program is started early.
- Decrease in pain. Immersion in warm water increases blood supply to sore muscles and promotes relaxation. Weight relief to weakened body structures also creates additional comfort.
- Increase in joint flexibility. Buoyancy offers a tremendous advantage because it reduces the effects of gravity allowing for increased joint range of motion. The water also allows the affected body part to float, making it easier and less painful to move. The warm water also helps to relax muscles that are sore or tight.
- Increase in muscle strength. Water is over 600x more resistive to air plus resists rapid movement so equipment with increased surface area is used to increase strength of weakened muscles in the pool.
- Decrease in abnormal tone, spasticity, and rigidity. Water temperatures above 92 degrees, in conjunction with hands on techniques, are effective in creating neutral warmth that reduces increased tone due to a neurological injury.
- Improved balance. The uniform pressure of the water along with buoyancy provides support to the body allowing increased time to react without the fear of falling or getting hurt.
Loudoun Physical Therapy conducts its Aquatic Therapy sessions in both the Ida Lee Recreation Center in Leesburg VA and in the Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne VA. By utilizing water resistance (current flow) and various low-impact exercises to maximize the benefits, Loudoun Physical Therapy is able to set up a program tailored to meet an individual's specific issues. Aquatic Therapy is offered as a modality in conjunction with land-based therapy or by itself as the primary therapy if appropriate. Individuals can access the pool either by stairs or a hydraulic lift that uses a chair or stretcher. Depths range from 2.9 to 5 feet.
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