Water therapy, also known as pool therapy or aquatic physical therapy, is a form of rehabilitation that is done in the water. It is used to improve function, endurance, balance, coordination, strength and flexibility.
Water therapy is done by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant.
Anybody who has pain in their back, hips or legs can benefit from water therapy. It can help people who have:
Water therapy is often used for athletes who cannot run due to stress fractures or other injuries.
There are 3 main principles behind water therapy: buoyancy, resistance and water pressure.
When you are in the water your body weighs less than if you were on dry land. For example, if you are standing in water that is up to your chest, your body weight is decreased by about 75%. If you are standing at waist level, your body weight is decreased by 50%. Having less body weight means the stresses on your joints is less. This lets people with conditions such as arthritis to exercise with less pain.
Another unique feature of water is that it provides resistance when you move. Have you ever tried to run in the water? It’s much harder than if you tried to run on dry land. Resistance helps to strengthen weakened muscles. In many cases, the faster you try to move under water, the greater the resistance.
Water can put pressure on chronically inflamed joints and can help to reduce swelling. Exercising in warm water can also help to reduce swelling because it can increase the circulation in your joints.
Check with your healthcare provider to make sure that water therapy is safe for you. People with these conditions should not exercise in the water:
Do these exercises in waist deep water: