What is Aquatic Therapy?
Although it may seem obvious to some, many others may not know that aquatic therapy is physical therapy that takes place in water. Although facilities that offer aquatic therapy may differ in many ways, the water where therapy occurs is normally about 92 to 94 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. Aquatic therapy is an appropriate choice for a wide variety of patients, including those recovering from surgery, orthopedic problems, rheumatological issues, and neurological pain.
Why do physical therapy in a water environment? The specific properties of water serve to enhance the effects of physical therapy in many cases. Combine the water environment with the actual therapy and many patients do benefit in ways that would not be seen in an air environment. The goal is simply to improve mobility and function of the area of concern. Patients do not need to know how to swim in order to undergo aquatic therapy.
How Can Aquatic Therapy Benefit Me?
Aquatic therapy can be beneficial to a patient in many ways.
Second, believe it or not, you will most likely get stronger faster in the water than in the air. Because water is denser than air, the amount of effort it takes for movement is far greater than if you were exercising in an air environment. The increase in effort means that you will work harder, putting greater stress on your muscles, which will lead to an increase in muscular strength.
Third, aquatic therapy usually takes place in water that is very warm, at least in the low 90s Fahrenheit. This warmer temperature will soothe all areas of your body and make you relax. Higher temperatures will increase blood flow to the extremities and generally will increase your comfort level. Combine the increased blood flow with the feeling of buoyancy and you will feel less pain than you did before you entered the water.
Fourth, during your experience with aquatic therapy, you will feel a greater sense of balance. With the feeling of being lighter due to buoyancy and the added relief of the warm water temperature, you will feel at greater ease, less reluctant to move and less worried about experiencing pain.