Aquatic Therapy

 

Aquatic therapy is a type of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment under the supervision of a trained therapist. It is designed to maintain or improve function of balance, coordination, agility, flexibility, endurance conditioning, gait, body mechanics and posture and continues to grow in popularity as an alternative to traditional land-based therapy. Aquatic therapy is suitable for children and adults of all ages and fitness levels. The soothing properties of water appeal to those in search of treatment that can heal the body while improving rehabilitation timeframes, fitness levels or reducing overall stress levels.

 

Why it’s Beneficial

 

Aquatic therapy improves muscle relaxation and increases circulation through the use of warm water. The natural resistance of the water is great for strength training and our natural buoyancy in water helps displace some of our weight making it easier to stand and move, but also makes it easier for the therapist to move the patient's body for therapy purposes.

 

Who Can Benefit from Aquatic Therapy?

 

Aquatic therapy can be used to treat a variety of medical conditions and diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, strokes, Parkinson's disease, obesity and muscular dystrophy. It’s also effective for patients that are on weight-bearing restrictions, since the use of water allows you to function at levels that are not possible outside of this environment. The ultimate goal of aquatic therapy is to progress you to a more functional, land-based program.

 

Hurdles to Aquatic Therapy

 

Sadly, one of the trends currently seen in the reimbursement world is a tendency for the payer to play therapist and decide when or even if water-based intervention is appropriate. This has progressed in some circles to the point where a payer will demand that a patient first fail in traditional land-based therapy before permitting aquatic treatment. This phenomenon can hamstring the decision-making matrix of the skilled therapist. We believe the physician should have the right to choose the medicinal tool which best suits each patient’s needs; to demand first that they make a sub-standard selection is a dangerous precedent.

 

If you think aquatic therapy would benefit you or a loved one, we encourage you to discuss it with your primary care physician. If you’d like to learn more about our aquatic therapy programs, contact us today.

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