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Aquatic Therapy

 

The use of aquatic therapy has broad rehabilitative potential, from the treatment of acute injuries through maintenance programs, as we face an increase in chronic disease and health reform.  Dating back to the earliest of times, water has been used to promote healing.  There has been significant research on spas and aquatic therapies dating back to the 1930’s.  Aquatic therapies are beneficial for orthopedic, neurological, and cardiovascular conditions, as well as for pain management.

The pool at NOMS CPW Healthcare is heated and accessible to all patients.

 

What are the physical properties? 

Buoyancy:  In the water your body is buoyant and the impact on the joints during exercise is significantly less depending on the depth of the pool.  For instance, a body immersed to the neck bears approximately 10% of its body weight and a body immersed to the chest bears approximately 30%.

Hydrostatic Pressure:  Hydrostatic pressure is the force that aids in resolution of edema in an injured body part or with vascular insufficiency. 

Resistance:  Muscle must work against resistance to become stronger.  Water is more resistive than air, because water is more viscous than air, making each movement in the pool more challenging.  The amount of resistance is controlled by the speed of the movement. 

 

What conditions benefit from aquatic therapy? 

Almost every condition can benefit from aquatic therapy, but is found to be most beneficial for the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Joint replacements
  • Orthopedic disorders of the spine
  • Orthopedic injuries to the shoulders, knees and ankles
  • Neurological disorders such as stroke and Parkinson’s
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Vascular Disorders
  • Balance Disorders
  • Pre/Post Natal

 

What are the Therapeutic Benefits of Aquatic Therapy?

Below is just a sampling of the many benefits from exercising in a therapeutic pool:  

  • Increased circulation to muscles
  • Promotes relaxation and improves sleep
  • Increased range of motion/flexibility
  • Allow early weight bearing after an injury or surgery
  • Decreased muscle guarding and pain
  • Promotes functional movement patterns
  • Increases muscular strength and endurance
  • Improves balance, coordination and spatial awareness
  • Promotes feelings of well being and decreases stress

 

What are some of the contraindications for Aquatic Therapy? 
As with any type of exercise, you should be cleared by your physician before you start.  Some of the most common contraindications are:

  • Excessive fear of the water
  • Open wounds or sores
  • Infectious diseases
  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Cardiac insufficiency
  • Uncontrolled epilepsy
  • Bowel incontinence
  • Uncontrolled hypertension or hypotension
  • Uncontrolled angina or cardiac arrhythmias

 

Aquatic exercise and therapy remain vastly underused despite recent increases in popularity.  It is a great adjunct to traditional therapy and also provides patients with an additional mode of exercise to preserve and protect their health and longevity. Aquatic facilities are widely available and public acceptance continues to grow.  There is tremendous potential in public health to be achieved as we work to control chronic disease as a part of health reform. 

 

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