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Aquatic therapy 101: Everything you need to know about this form of physiotherapy

Updated on:22 April 2021, 17:33pm IST
A form of physiotherapy, aquatic therapy can reduce pain and enhance mobility. Here are all the benefits you need to know about.
Dr Firdaus Shaikh
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An unconventional form of physiotherapy that can help reduce pain! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Aquatic physical therapy is a unique and highly effective form of physiotherapy that is gaining popularity worldwide. It’s a technique where rehabilitation exercises are carried out by trained aquatic therapists in a heated warm pool. It helps in muscle relaxation, reduces pain and improves joints.

Aquatic therapy includes rehabilitation, prevention, fitness and wellness. It is suitable for all age groups, be it children and adults. In fact, patients with various disabilities, disorders, and health problems can opt for this therapy. This is because aquatic therapy proves to be efficient in treating pain and reduced mobility caused by a wide range of health conditions such as arthritis, back pain, sports injuries, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

Here are some key benefits of aquatic therapy:

1. It improves flexibility, muscle relaxation and increases peripheral circulation through the use of warm water.

Aquatic therapy
Aquatic therapy can help in reducing stress as well. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. The treatment provides resistance for low impact strength training, improves circulation, balance and coordination.

3. The major benefit of this therapy is that the apparent weightlessness in water reduces stress and impact on painful joints. The result is a pain free, risk free and safe exercise experience.

4. Apart from weightlessness, the warmth of the water also reduces muscle tightness, eradicates pain, and enhances mobility.

5. For patients struggling with conventional land-based physiotherapy, aquatic therapy is the one stop solution to their rehabilitation needs.

6. It provides relaxation and reduces stress.

Aquatic therapy
Say hello to flexibility with aquatic therapy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

7. It increases the range of movement.

8. People who are not able to perform exercises on the land can safely and easily perform them in water.

There are, however, a few things you need to keep in mind before going for aquatic therapy:
  • Therapy pools should be chest-level deep. Knowing how to swim is not a precondition.
Aquatic therapy
Bid adieu to pain with aquatic therapy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • For wheelchair-bound patients with higher dependency, there is a specialized machine-based lift to safely transfer clients in and out of the pools.
  • The therapist must be specially trained to ensure utmost safety and care.

Aquatic therapy can be extremely beneficial, but safety needs to be ensured at all steps!

Dr Firdaus Shaikh Dr Firdaus Shaikh

Dr Firdaus Shaikh, Senior Orthopaedic Physiotherapist, AquaCentric Therapy