Physical therapy is an important service that many Americans need each year. It can treat people with a wide range of conditions from a sports injury to loss of motion and coordination as the result of a stroke or heart attack.
The goal of physical therapy depends on the client. Sometimes, it is the full rehabilitation of motor functions and control, others it is to return the range of motion after damage has been rendered. Sometimes, the goal is to simply reduce the amount of chronic pain like knee pain, which is the second most common form of chronic pain, or hip pain, which affects about 7% of Americans.
In order to address these issues, physical therapists have a number of tools that they use. One of the most unique and beneficial is aquatic therapy.
This post is designed to give you a broad overview of what aquatic therapy is and it’s many benefits.
Benefits of Water
Typically, the water used for aquatic therapy is heated to around 92 degrees, which means that you are in a much more relaxing environment that can actually coax your muscles into loosening, helping to push beyond what conventional therapy can offer. This will help to increase your blood flow and also help reduce the occurrence of muscle spasms.
Water also offers a natural and predictable source of resistance, being up to 700 times more resistant than air. This means you will benefit from much more muscle strengthening than you would outside of the water.
Another major benefit is that water is an adjustable environment. That means for those suffering from osteoarthritis — some 30 million Americans — the water can be raised to the shoulders in order to allow for a full body resistance exercise.
For someone who is attempting to improve their basic movements, the water can be lowered. This allows them to practice standing and walking, strengthening those muscles. It also provides a significant cushion in case an individual were to fall.
Aquatic therapy is an excellent tool for a wide variety of people who need physical therapy. It can help you restore your movement, regain your comfort and ease your pain. If your doctor prescribes physical therapy, be sure to ask if aquatic therapy is right for you.