Aquatic therapy includes exercises and activities done in a pool with controlled temperature. It involves techniques that aim to apply proper rehabilitative methods for patients with specific injuries or disabilities.
Conditions that can be treated with aquatic therapy include joint-related problems like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and dislocations. It is also used to treat multiple sclerosis stroke as well as sports injuries like rotator cuff problems.
Walking as part of aquatic therapy is a good aerobic exercise. Patients with joints conditions can walk and exercise their leg muscles without adding stress to the joints. Running in the water is also a good workout. Some physical therapists can suggest other aquatic therapy activities like kick training.
Patients suffering with arthritis find aquatic therapy to be very beneficial to their recovery. The buoyancy of the water allows the patient to work out safely and effectively. Water therapy can improve the range of motion and flexibility of the patient as well as tones and strengthens the muscles.
The resistance of the water which is twelve times that of air makes aquatic therapy very effective in building muscle strength. This is important in treatment and prevention of arthritis. Muscle strength obtained through this treatment can stabilize the vulnerable joints. Strong muscles are necessary to prevent the joints from moving awkwardly and provide the strength to allow the joints easy movement even if the tissues are damages due to arthritis.
The temperature of the water when doing aquatic therapy activities also plays a role in the patient’s recovery. Moist heat can relieve pain. Warm temperature can help muscles relax. Heat also has the ability to raise the patient’s pain threshold, thus allowing him or her to exercise much longer than on land.
Another important factor that attributes to the success of aquatic therapy is the psychological support it provides to the patient. Patients who are performing this type of therapy, would experience anxiety and depression at a lesser degree. They also have improved mood and self esteem.
Although, this treatment is greatly beneficial, there are some considerations to take into before starting a patient on aquatic therapy. Any activities or treatment involving water or pool exercises should always be done with qualified physical therapists or medical professionals. Patients with fever, severe heart failure and infection should avoid this treatment.
Some patients might have allergic reactions to pool chemicals as well. Also, using rubber mats is important to avoid any accident and reduce the possibility of injury due to slipping.