Aquatic Physical Therapy

Simply put, aquatic physical therapy is performing physical exercises in warm water. Such a therapy benefits especially those people who are unable to perform weight bearing activities because of problems such as arthritis, sprains etc. Aquatic physical therapy can help patients regain freedom of movement, reduce or even eliminate pain altogether. The combination of simple physical workouts and pool water at a comfortably warm temperature has a therapeutic effect on your body, something you cannot experience by using other means. Even kids may benefit from such therapy as well.

Performing exercises in water for aquatic physical therapy has more benefits than doing exercises on land. The natural buoyancy of water reduces the effect of the gravitational pull and thereby diminishes the stress on muscles and joints. As a result, people suffering from joint pain find aquatic physical therapy much more friendly and convenient. While exercising in water, a patient can progress through various levels of activity and improve muscle tone and strength.

Aquatic physical therapy is beneficial for patients with neck and back pain, as well as those who have been severely weakened because of injury or surgery. Moreover, the pool's heat goes a long way in relieving the pain linked with injuries or discomforts.

Those who are in a process of recovering from muscular or skeletal injuries can control the intensity of their aquatic physical therapy by increasing or decreasing the level of water resistance while doing their exercises. The physical therapist is often likely to recommend weights and flotation devices to speed up recovery.

A number of problems can be treated with the help of aquatic physical therapy. These include arthritis, chronic pain, athletic injuries, joint replacements, limited weight bearing, neck and back pain, neurological disorders, fibromyalgia etc. Aquatic physical therapy can also help promote healing to the site of injury. When one performs exercise in warm water, vasodilation of the blood vessels takes place leading to increased blood flow to the injury site and result in more oxygen supply and healing of damaged tissue. This therapy is particularly helpful for those who are suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis where the spinal vertebrae become more and more inflamed and the spine eventually becomes fused, resulting in a severely restricted movement.

Aquatic physical therapy treatment sessions also help improve circulation, increase strength and endurance, widen range of motion, improve balance and coordination, normalize muscle tone, reduce stress, protect joints, diminish swelling etc.

However, aquatic physical therapy also has its limitations. Pure water therapy is not suitable for those patients who are incontinent for hygiene reasons, as well as those with skin conditions or allergies to chlorine. It is also not recommended for people who have high blood pressure as aquatic physical therapy has a tendency of increasing the blood pressure.

The main objectives of a qualified physical aqua therapist are to abolish gravity thereby enabling the body to float, increase the power in the muscles, and provide greater movement of a particular limb or joint. Even though it has its therapeutic worth, there is no harm in looking at aquatic physical therapy as just underwater physical exercise.