Aquatic therapy is a form of alternative care often used alongside traditional medical care to facilitate and promote recovery among patients. Many pain management clinics now offer such complementary therapies as a restorative measure in place of medication alone.
In recent years the trend of aquatic therapy has gained popularity to be used as an alternative to other traditional therapies. Backed by science, the soothing effects of water can not only heal the body but assist it with rehabilitation, fitness, and reduction of stress.
Simply said, aquatic therapy refers to rehabilitation through water, taking place in an aquatic environment like a pool or spa. In the US, several organizations are legally registered for providing aquatic services. It is a certified physical therapy course unit with athletic trainers assisting patients with exercises and plans for therapy.
Aquatic therapy primarily has the following goals:
- Improves flexibility
- Enhances aerobic capacity
- Promotes relaxation and reduces stress
- Builds muscle stress and increases endurance
- Improves coordination and balance
This alternative care therapy differs from aquatic fitness as it aims towards rehabilitation and stress relieving services. It involves professional assistance and is to be covered by insurance providers as a medical facility. While aquatic exercise is a fitness program, aquatic therapy does not include learning to swim or water-based activities. This facility is provided by legally certified institutes like hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private clinics.
Benefits of Aquatic Therapy:
Aquatic therapy can help with the following conditions:
- Arthritis pain management
- Balance disorders
- Chronic pain
- Cerebral palsy
- Lower back pain
- Joint surgery recovery
- Multiple Sclerosis
- And other neurological disorders
The therapy does not have any age restrictions. People of all ages can benefit from this therapy.
Types of Aquatic Therapies
- AI CHI Aquatic Therapy
AI Chi is a water therapy initiated by Jun Konno in 1993. It involves progressive training and diaphragmatic breathing with all the mental, spiritual and physical energy integrated. It features both Western and Eastern techniques.
- Aqua Running
Aqua running is also known as the deep water running. It involves a flotation belt which keeps the upper body above water level. This therapy mainly involves the rehabilitation of joints and spine.
- Bad Ragaz Ring
The Bad Ragaz Ring method was initiated by a team of physiotherapists with the aim of developing mobilizing and strengthening exercise models. This therapy involves the use of multiple aquatic exercises.
- HALLIWICK concept
Originally planned in the 1940s, this therapy model aims at helping patients develop core stability and balance. It involves working with people with disabilities to learn swimming and through that improve the following conditions:
- Mental adjustment
- Transversal rotational control
- Sagittal rotation control
- Mental inversion or upthrust
- Combined rotation control
What is required?
Other than a trainer and standard swimming accessories, a patient may need to have the following:
- Stationary bicycles
- Weight barbells
- Short tipped flippers and fins
- Ankle Weights
Other than that the accessories required depend on the type of aquatic therapy the individual opts for. A trainer will provide a list of things required prior to each session.