Aquatic physical therapy is essentially the same as traditional, land-based physical therapy except that it takes place in a warm water therapy pool instead of a gym.
There are many advantages to aquatic PT, but the most significant is how the properties of water allow for therapy in a low gravity environment. This significantly reduces pain experienced with movement, and allows an individual who may be limited on land to safely do much more in the water.
Nope! It is not unusual to have a patient who either does not know how to swim or has a disability that would make it impossible to swim safely. All patients are one-on-one with a therapist in the water throughout the session with a wide variety of flotation devices available to suit the exercise. No one is asked to do more in the water than they feel comfortable with.
You will not be required to get your face wet. Some patients like to swim as a part of their rehabilitation, but it is not a requirement. It is not unusual for the back of the head to get wet while floating in the water, but it is perfectly okay to wear a swim cap.
What you wear in the water is entirely up to you. One piece bathing suits are most commonly worn, but if you’re more comfortable in shorts and T-shirt, that’s okay too. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable.
The pool is generally between 91° and 92° degrees. While this is significantly warmer than an average public pool, it is still a few degrees below average body temperature. The pool room is heated to 86° to 87° degrees which helps maintain body heat. Some patients who may be more susceptible to cold elect to wear wet suit tops over their bathing suit to retain some heat.
Absolutely! Once the surgical incision is healed and you’ve been given clearance from the surgeon, the pool is a great place for rehab. The warm water promotes flexibility, and buoyancy contributes to minimally invasive movement as you work to regain function.
For all those with mobility restrictions or limitations, the buoyancy of water can be quite liberating. When submerged to waist depth, buoyancy off-loads about 50% of your body weight, and at mid-trunk depth, you weigh 70% less than on land. This allows those with restrictions to move and walk without exceeding them. The pool has both wide-step stairs with handrails and a lift chair for safe, easy access in and out of the water.