People need physical therapy for many reasons, including illness, injury, and surgery. Aquatic therapy is just one type of treatment option, but there are many components to aquatic therapy that a large variety of patients can benefit from. Brandy Davis, physical therapist at Johnston Health Rehab Services, describes how aquatic therapy works and who can benefit from it:
4 Beneficial Components of Aquatic Therapy
1) Buoyancy – In water that is chest-level, an individual only carries about 40% of their body weight. For someone with muscle or joint problems that make it difficult to do land-based exercises, aquatic therapy can lesson the stress that is put on the body. The water buoyancy of aquatic therapy particularly helps patients who are obese or suffer from arthritis. 2) Resistance – Water resistance is much stronger than air resistance, so aquatic therapy uses many more muscles than land therapy. This helps to increase strength and balance, and uses muscles that land therapy might not engage. Water resistance is particularly helpful for patients who might not be able to keep their balance during traditional therapy. 3) Hydrostatic Pressure – When a patient is chest-deep in water, it greatly improves blood circulation throughout the body. This helps to decrease any joint pain or stress that the patient might be suffering from, and also reduces swelling in the lower half of the body. 4) Temperature – Aquatic therapy takes place in a heated pool with a warm, humid environment. The heat improves blood circulation and relaxes sore muscles, making it easier for patients to perform exercises. Patients with back pain or muscles spasms especially benefit from the warm, humid environment of aquatic therapy.For more information on Johnston Health’s rehabilitation services, visit our website or call 919-938-7296.