The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

December 17, 2013

Aquatic Therapy offered in our 92-94 degree therapeutic pool offers many advantages and benefits to individuals recovering from all phases of injury or illness. The scope of patient diagnoses treated in our pool is surprisingly vast, encompassing everything from post-surgical, non-surgical, orthopedic, rheumatologic, and neurological to chronic pain.
It is the therapeutic properties of the water combined with the skill and specialized training of our aquatic therapists that will help you to improve your mobility and function. You do not have to be a swimmer to participate in or benefit from water therapy.

Patients participating in aquatic therapy can expect the following benefits:
1. Increase in joint flexibility. Buoyancy offers a tremendous advantage because it reduces the effects of gravity allowing for increased joint range of motion. Your affected body part will float, making it easier and less painful to move. The warm water also helps to relax muscles that are sore or tight.
2. Increase in muscle strength. Water is 600-700 times more resistive than air which allows for strengthening of weakened muscles. Water resists rapid movement so equipment with increased surface area is used to increase strength in the pool.
3. Decrease in pain. Immersion in warm water increases an individual’s comfort, by increasing blood supply to sore muscles and promoting relaxation. Weight relief to weakened body structures also creates additional comfort.
4. Decrease in abnormal tone, spasticity, and rigidity. Water temperatures above 92 degrees in conjunction with hands on techniques are effective in creating neutral warmth that reduces increased tone due to a neurological injury.
5. Improved balance. The uniform pressure of the water along with buoyancy provides support to your body which allows you increased time to react without the fear of falling or getting hurt.
Aquatic Therapy is provided by either our occupational or physical therapy staff in our multi-depth, therapeutic pool at Helen Hayes Hospital. It is offered as a modality in conjunction with land based therapy or by itself as the primary therapy if appropriate. Individuals can access the pool either by stairs or a hydraulic lift that uses a chair or stretcher. Depths range from 2.9 to 5 feet.

Your aquatic therapist will customize and train you in an aquatic exercise that is appropriate to your level. If you wish to continue your aquatic exercise program after therapy ends or if insurance no longer authorizes therapy, you can transition to our community based aquatic wellness program for a small fee.

Aquatic therapy for inpatients and outpatients is available Monday through Friday 9:00am to 12:00am. A doctor’s prescription is required. To schedule an appointment or for additional information, call 845-786-4194.