Aquatic Rehabilitation - What is It?
Aquatic rehabilitation…it’s not what you think it is. No flippers, swim cap or googles are required and you don’t even need to know how to swim! In aquatic rehabilitation your feet remain firmly planted on the pool bottom in the shallow end. Okay, at least one foot is planted on the bottom at all times and the side of the pool is within reach.
Aquatic rehabilitation or aqua therapy are terms given to describe active rehabilitation exercises performed in a swimming pool. It includes range of motion, strength and stretching exercises. The aquatic environment provides gentle resistance while the buoyancy supports your body weight making you feel lighter. All exercises can be performed in the shallow end of the pool. Individuals that are more comfortable in the pool, have the option of performing deep water exercises wearing an aqua therapy belt. The aqua therapy belt allows you to float similar to a lifejacket. Many community swimming pool have aqua belts that are available for patrons to use. By no means is it a requirement to be able to swim lengths using the traditional swim strokes like front crawl, back crawl, breast stroke or butterfly. Aqua therapy sessions are typically lead by a Kinesiologist or Physiotherapist at a community pool.
Who would benefit?
Aquatic rehabilitation is particularly beneficial to individuals:
- who have high levels of pain from a soft tissue injury (such as from a car accident)
- who have limited range of motion
- who struggle with full weight bearing (ie standing and walking)
- who are recovering from a joint replacement (as a hip or knee replacement)
- who have chronic pain
Benefits of aquatic rehabilitation
- increase in range of motion
- increase in strength and function
- cardiovascular improvements
What equipment is needed?
A swimsuit is the only prerequisite, however, I also recommend having sandals that you can wear on the pool deck. It is a bonus if you have access to an aqua therapy belt and a pool noodle.
Below is a list of rehab exercises that can be performed in the pool. This list is not exhaustive by any means. You can get really creative with using the pool noodle!
- forward, side ways and backwards walking
- bicep curls/tricep extensions
- front and side arm raises
- arm circles
- leg extensions/leg curls
I have received a lot of positive feedback from clients who have performed aquatic rehabilitation. They were able to perform an exercise routine in the water with less pain. Contact us to schedule an aquatic rehabilitation session. We offer this treatment in most cities across the Lower Mainland.