Benefits of Water Physical Therapy
Aquatic therapy, as water physical therapy is commonly referred to has been a practice since time immemorial although on a limited scale. Traditionally, water was boiled and applied on injured parts of the body with use of a cloth. Modern aquatic therapy has built on the traditional method and incorporated exercises and the use of specialized physical therapy equipments. In any case, modern aquatic therapy is mainly undertaken with a patient immersed in water. The therapy is mostly undertaken in swimming pools although a patient is not required to swim. The temperature of water used in aquatic therapy is usually regulated for the intended treatment to be achieved.
Aquatic therapy provides several benefits including:
- Reduced gravity – A patient experiences reduced gravitational pull when immersed in water. This allows a patient to exercise an impaired body part without causing further damage. Water makes it easy for a patient to perform exercises prescribed by an aquatic physical therapist, which a patient may not perform comfortably on land. Several devices are used in the process including floatation belts.
- Increased blood flow – Water used in water physical therapy is usually warm. This promotes healing at injury site(s) as blood vessels around the injured site receive adequate blood and oxygen supply, which are necessary for fast and effective healing.
- Relaxation – Doctors normally advise their patients to obtain adequate rest and relaxation as one way of quick recovery. This is what aquatic therapy provides a patient. Since a patient is immersed in warm water, body muscles relax, in effect encouraging fast healing.
- Balance – Aquatic water increases buoyancy, which aids a patient achieve balance. The buoyancy is also effective in minimizing or eradicating pain that a patient may be experiencing. The reduced pain comes about because the buoyancy lessens weight exerted on a patient’s injured boy part.
- Viscosity – It is always important for a physical therapy patient to gain strength, particular at the injured site. Aquatic physical therapists do prescribe exercises that a patient needs to perform in water, the only suitable place where viscosity is available. The water’s viscosity makes it difficult for a patient to move an impaired body part. The difficulty makes an injured site develop strength in the process of exercise.
- Change in environment – A physical therapy patient benefits greatly with change in environment that aquatic therapy provides. Moving from land into water for therapy boosts a patient’s morale, which facilitates fast recovery.
Although water physical therapy has traditionally been a treatment available in developed countries, it is fast gaining ground around the world as one of the best ways to treat patients who require physical rehabilitation. Varied equipments, tools and objects such as foam noodles, kickboards and balls amongst others are introduced by qualified and approved aquatic therapists in treating patients. This makes water physical therapy not only enjoyable but fun as well. Physical therapists worldwide encourage the use of aquatic therapy by patients in need of physical rehabilitation. This is because studies indicate that patients who receive aquatic therapy heal faster than those who receive physical therapy on land.