Aquatherapy involves the use of the unique properties of water in a therapeutic environment to facilitate movement and enhance recovery.
It is these unique properties that allow therapists and clients to manipulate the water to either assist or resist movement force, depending on the client’s condition and therapeutic goals.
The properties of water that we use during Aquatherapy are:
Based on the Archimedes Principle where a body immersed in water will experience an upward force equal to the weight of the displaced water. The body feels light in the water.Depending on the depth of immersion, there is less weight through the joints in the water allowing for easier, bigger movements.
- Hydrostatic pressure
The perpendicular pressure exerted by water against the surface of your body depends on how deeply you are immersed.Hydrostatic pressure has a profound effect on the systemic and sensory functions of the body. The greatest effect can be seen in the increased blood flow from the limbs back to the heart. This increased venous return directly impacts on the cardiovascular system which distributes more oxygenated blood to the muscles and organs, in particular the kidneys.
- Hydrostatic pressure
The viscous nature (internal friction) of water can directly affect the speed of movement of the body through the water, making it an ideal “training room”. Props and equipment can also be used to increase or decrease the resistance of the water to movement.
- Thermal conductivity
The therapeutic temperature of the water is between 33˚C – 36˚C. This temperature is most conducive to allowing muscle relaxation which in turn increase range of motion. It is also very helpful in easing joint pain and generally improving circulation.
Aquatherapy is beneficial for:
- Exercise and rehabilitation pre- and post-surgery and joint replacements
- Management of acute and chronic pain
- Improving strength, flexibility and range of motion in acute injuries and chronic conditions
- Management of arthritic conditions and other conditions of chronic inflammation
- Maintaining and improving postural alignment especially in the disabled population
- Improving cardiovascular fitness
- Enhancing serotonin release and fighting symptoms of fatigue especially in chronic conditions
- Exercise during pregnancy as an alternative to land-based exercise
Aquatherapy is contra-indicated in cases of:
- Open wounds
- Active infections
- Fear of water
- Viral infections
- Uncontrolled diabetes, asthma or epilepsy
- Certain cardiovascular conditions which affect the cardiac output of the heart
- Certain conditions affecting kidney functioning
Neural conditions which affect the body’s thermoregulation.