The amazing benefits of Aqua therapy

Aqua therapy continues to grow in popularity as a safe complement or alternative to traditional land-based therapy that is suitable for children and adults of all ages and fitness levels. The soothing properties of water appeal to those in search of treatment that can heal the body while improving rehabilitation timeframes, fitness levels or reducing overall stress levels.

What is Aqua therapy?

Aqua therapy is physiotherapy that takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional. Aqua therapy is also known as water therapy, aquatic rehabilitation, aqua therapy, pool therapy, therapeutic aquatic exercise or hydrotherapy.

Common goals of aqua therapy programs include:

  • Improving flexibility
  • Improving balance and coordination
  • Building muscle strength and endurance
  • Enhancing aerobic capacity
  • Assisting with gait and locomotion
  • Reducing stress and promoting relaxation

Aqua therapy is different from aquatic exercise or aquatic fitness because it is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that requires the involvement of a trained professional and is covered by many insurance providers due to the personalized nature of the treatment. Aquatic exercise does not need to be supervised by a trained professional. It is also not covered by insurance, and it often takes place in a group setting that includes multiple people with different levels of physical fitness.

Aqua therapy should not be confused with adaptive aquatics, either. Adaptive aquatics is the process of teaching people with disabilities how to swim safely in the water. Aqua therapy does not focus on teaching clients how to swim.

Water therapy services are generally offered in hospitals, sports medicine clinics and traditional outpatient rehabilitation centers. Senior living centers may also provide Aqua therapy services as a way to encourage their residents to maintain or improve fitness levels, balance and strength

History of Aqua therapy

  • Water therapy has been used for thousands of years throughout the world. Consider the following examples:
  • Ancient Greeks and Romans bathed in hot springs to improve circulation and promote relaxation.
  • Hippocrates recommended bathing in spring water as a way to treat sickness.
  • Swiss monks were known to use thermal waters to treat sick or disabled people in their community.
  • Japanese hot springs, or onsens, are said to have medicinal effects that include healing chronic pain, treating skin problems, curing menstrual disorders and relieving constipation.
  • German physicians were firm believers in pediatric water therapy. Water birthing was
    very popular throughout Germany in the 1960s and 1970s.

These are some of the ways that water’s natural properties create an ideal therapeutic environment:

  • Warm water provides a relaxing and soothing environment for aching joints and muscles.
  • Water’s natural viscosity or resistance can be used for muscle strengthening and increasing rehabilitation progressions.
  • Buoyancy allows for flotation and reduces the effects of gravity on injured or aching joints and muscles.
  • Hydrostatic pressure supports and stabilizes the client, allowing people with balance deficits to perform exercises without a fear of falling, decreasing pain and improving cardiovascular return.
  • Turbulence and wave propagation let the therapist gently manipulate the client through the desired exercises.
  • The respiratory muscles are forced to work harder in the water, allowing for a natural strengthening that benefits the client long after the therapy session has ended.

Compared to other forms of physiotherapy, Aqua therapy results in a higher client compliance rate and less pain throughout the recovery process. Opportunities to significantly minimize the pain a client experiences should be taken seriously because with less pain, a client can enjoy a higher quality of life.
Another important advantage of Aqua therapy is that it can often begin before land-based therapy. For athletes looking to get back into competition, or busy professionals who want to recover from surgery as quickly as possible, this makes a water-based program the natural choice.

Contact PCA on 0813 028 0496 to try aqua therapy and experience all the amazing benefits for yourself!

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