Aquatic Therapy

Water’s Calming Power Also Builds Balance, Strength

Patient working with therapist in swimming poolTraumatic brain injury often affects many aspects of a person’s ability to function post injury. Gait, balance, flexibility, and strength are among the challenges that patients face. Aquatic therapy is an effective method of addressing these issues while in a specialized temperature-controlled pool. Conducted by a trained therapist, treatments and exercises are performed while floating, partially submerged, or fully submerged in water.

Patient working with therapist in swimming poolIn the pool, patients can perform certain movements that would be more difficult in a non-water environment. Becoming buoyant can ease the patient’s concerns about falling or losing balance while doing a series of exercises. Other benefits include:

An aquatic component is also beneficial when normal functioning is limited by inflammation, guarding, and muscle spasm. In addition, it addresses reeducation of weak muscles and skill development for neurological and neuromuscular impairment, as well as acute orthopedic or neuromuscular injury.

Water can be a contributing factor in the overall efficacy of physical therapy and exercise prescribed in rehabilitation.  In place of gravity or weights, water has thermal stability that permits a constant temperature. Hydrostatic pressure supports and stabilizes the body, which affects heart and lung function. Gentle wave movement allows the patient to move in concert with the water or against it to build strength and resistance. Improvement of patient morale is another benefit of aquatic therapy; confidence can be established by providing a positive medium in which to function.