Aquatic Therapy: An Introduction

If you’re looking for a low-impact way to recover from an injury, practice resistance, improve your flexibility, or accomplish any other number of health and wellness goals, aquatic therapy may be right for you. If all you know of aquatic therapy is the aqua-aerobics classes you’ve seen on TV, you may be missing out on some of the benefits that this school of exercises can provide. Today, we’ll be introducing some of the benefits you can expect to see from aquatic therapy, as well as some of the things you might not know about the process.

What Are Some of the Goals of Aquatic Therapy?

The outcomes you can expect to see from treatment largely depend on your own goals. Many of the common goals people hope to accomplish with this mode of therapy are increased flexibility, improved mobility, correction of balance and coordination concerns, and enhanced aerobic stamina and capability. Additionally, the low impact nature of exercise in the water makes it an ideal choice for rebuilding strength to affected areas following surgery, making it a strong contender for people seeking physical therapy.

How Does Aquatic Therapy Differ from Aquatic Exercise?

The biggest difference between these two schools of aquatic work is that aquatic therapy is a physical medicine performed by a qualified professional physical therapist. Because of this, many of these services can be billed to insurance. By contrast, aquatic aerobics are performed by instructors rather than trained professionals and take place in group settings with people at different levels of physical fitness working toward a common goal. Water therapy services can be performed in places such as sports clubs, hospitals, and outpatient rehabilitation centers. Aquatic aerobics are more likely to take place at gyms and community swimming pools.

What Benefits Can Aquatic Therapy Provide?

One of the greatest benefits of this type of physical therapy service is that it opens up opportunities for rehabilitation for individuals who might not otherwise have the opportunity. People with disabilities, the elderly, and people who have experienced serious injuries can benefit from hydrotherapy due to buoyancy provided by the water. Moreover, the viscosity of water provides for resistance that can be helpful in strengthening muscles during rehabilitation sessions.

Another benefit that all clients can enjoy is the soothing properties of warm water, which can provide relief for aching joints and muscles, allowing for ease of manipulation by the therapist and relief that the client can take with them throughout the day.

All of these factors combine to allow for a greater compliance rate by the client, which leads to further success in rehabilitation throughout all phases of the recovery process. Whether it’s used as the core of a client’s physical therapy or the first step in recovery before land-based therapy can begin, aquatic therapy is the natural choice for a wide variety of patients.

None of this is to diminish the importance or prevalence of traditional aquatic aerobics. In fact, the fitness industry is an important source of job creation, with a potential to see a 23% increase over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, for clients looking to experience the water in a rehabilitative context, there’s no replacing the benefits that a trained hydrotherapy professional can provide. If you’re interested in learning what aquatic therapy can do for you on the road to recovery, contact us today and one of our trained professionals will be happy to get you on the right track.

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