The short answer- Yes!
If you’ve been considering aquatic therapy (also known as hydrotherapy), it is best to seek a Physiotherapist who understands the unique properties of water and can utilise them to maximise your therapy. Some of these principles include Buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and Metacentre.
Buoyancy is what makes you feel weightless in the water and allows you to float! Physiotherapy utilises buoyancy in different ways to make exercises easier or harder. It allows our clients to do exercises in the water that they could not normally do on land.
The Healing Power of Hydrostatic Pressure: How Aquatic Therapy Benefits Your Cardiovascular System
Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure exerted on your body when immersed in water that is in a contained space such as in a pool. As the water becomes deeper, this pressure increases. This is important to understand as it has implications on your cardiovascular system. Before commencing aquatic therapy, your Physiotherapist will seek medical clearance and guidance from your GP. We also closely monitor your response in the pool to ensure you are safe at all times. This pressure is also helpful in reducing pain and swelling.
Maximizing Movement in Water: Harnessing the Benefits of Metacentre for Clients with Muscular or Joint Asymmetries
Finally, Metacentre is the point where the centre of gravity and centre of buoyancy intersect…it sounds complex, but the good news is that you don’t need to understand the physics behind it as long as your physiotherapist does! This property relates to how we move and rotate in water and is especially important to consider for clients with muscular or joint asymmetries. An example of this would be someone who has weakness on one side of their body post a stroke. We often utilise metacentre to train the trunk and core muscles as well as practice tasks such as rolling.
Final thoughts on Aquatic therapy with a Trained Physiotherapist
Water is an incredibly therapeutic environment and is great for exercise but without the assistance of an aquatic trained Physiotherapist it is difficult to gain the full benefit of aquatic therapy and to ensure safety in the pool at all times.
At Revive Neuro Physiotherapy, we carefully assess you in the water, provide you with an individualised program and review this often. We also provide training to your carers or family members if they are going to assist you with your program.
Next month we will be exploring the specific benefits of aquatic therapy for Neurological clients and looking at the evidence around this- stay tuned!