Aquatic Therapy

Aqua therapy tends to be a very relaxing therapeutic technique that can improve a brain injured patient’s function by using specific aquatic exercises that work well for sick patients because gravity is less a factor in the exercises.

Aquatic therapy is part of the genre of physical therapy.

Patients usually like aquatic therapy and are able to make movements they weren’t able to make since their accidents.  It can be difficult getting dressed in a bathing suit and maneuvering the locker room before and after the water therapy.

The goals of aquatic therapy include enhancing physical fitness, relaxation and physical rehabilitation.  The individual is led by a qualified physical therapist who is there for safety and to guide the patients in a program of exercise.  Aquatic therapy has excellent applications in spinal pain, brain injuries, neurologic disorders, orthopedic rehabilitation after surgery, pressure sores, musculoskeletal disorders, and pediatric disabilities.
 
Aquatic therapy makes use of several techniques involving water exercise, aquatic bodywork, physical therapy and hydrokinesiotherapy.  As mentioned, the movements can be active or passive and there are multiple different poses, exercises or movements.   There are various properties of water that help people heal, especially its thermal stability, hydrostatic pressure to help heart and lung function and buoyancy that allows for floatation.
 
There are several other alternative  techniques in use today, including the following:
  • Ai Chi. This is based upon the principles of qigong and Tai chi.  It uses progressive resistance training that both relaxes and strengthens the body.
  • Aqua running. This involves cardiovascular conditioning through the use of jogging or running in the water.  It is good for injured athletes.
  • Bad Ragaz Ring Method. It rehabilitates the neuromuscular abilities using floatation rings that support the patient horizontally in the water while the patient exercises with the therapist.  The rings are around the neck, pelvis, arms and knees.
  • The Burdenko Method. It is used along with land exercises by professional athletes.  It develops the patient’s balance, flexibility, coordination, speed and strength.
  • The Halliwick Concept. It was initially designed for a school for girls with disabilities. It focuses on motor control, especially core stability and sense of balance. The emphasis is on rotational control, balance control and swimming.
  • Watsu.   The therapist guides the individual through a series of flowing movements and stretches that help the person relax.  It is used for neurological conditions and orthopedic problems.
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