Orthopedic Institute Blog

What is Aquatic Therapy?

Posted on November 18, 2016


Whether you’ve suffered an acute injury or have ongoing pain or stress from a chronic illness such as arthritis, you have options when it comes to recovery techniques.

One such style of therapy can work wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing – aquatic therapy.

The Technique

Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy, offered in a warm water environment, that facilitates walking, joint and muscle mobility, balance, and reduction in swelling. Not all aquatic therapy sessions are alike! Your physical therapist will assess your strengths and weaknesses and build a program that is specific to your needs, and that will promote functional independence for you to return to your daily activities on land as soon as possible. 

The Benefits

Exercising in the water is typically easier to tolerate than land-based exercise. The warmth of the water produces relaxation, decreased muscle tension, and often a reduction in anxiety or fear that may be associated with therapy. The buoyancy of the water allows for decreased stress on your joints, making walking and weight-bearing more comfortable. The hydrostatic pressure of the water on your limbs can help to reduce swelling, therefore allowing better circulation and mobility of the affected joint. For those who struggle with balance, aquatic therapy is a great way to work on stability without the fear of falling on a hard surface.

The Results

Studies have proven that aquatic therapy has great benefits for people with chronic illnesses, such as osteoarthritis. Research from the American Physical Therapy Association found that 72% of sufferers saw marked improvements in pain reduction and 75% in overall joint function as a result of just six weeks of aquatic therapy. A 2014 study of women who suffer from fibromyalgia found that four months of aquatic therapy significantly improved their quality of sleep, cognitive function and physical abilities.

The Opportunities

The best results will come from scheduling an aquatic therapy session with a licensed, trusted professional. If you are interested in aquatic therapy, and want to learn more, check out www.orthopedicinstitutesf.com/services/aquatic-therapy/ or call Orthopedic Institute to schedule an appointment at our physical therapy location inside the GreatLife Woodlake Athletic Club. 605.977.6845 or 1.866.777.7678.

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