Hydrotherapy is a popular method used by many Physiotherapists in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions (Downie, 1984; Davies and Harrison, 1988). The water in hydrotherapy pools is heated to approximately 33°C, creating a supportive and safe environment for both exercise and rehabilitation.
Hydrotherapy can benefit a variety of acute, chronic health and musculoskeletal conditions, these include:
● Rehabilitation of severe low back pain
● Whiplash injury rehabilitation
● Work injury rehabilitation
● Following orthopaedic surgery (knee, hip, shoulder and spine rehabilitation)
● Elderly requiring a gentle, non-compressive exercise approach
● Sports injuries, where land based exercise is not appropriate
● Post surgery rehabilitation (rehabilitating patients after general surgery)
● Neurological conditions including Cerebral Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease and Muscular Dystrophy
Buoyancy and weight bearing stress
Buoyancy and the elasticity of the water decreases the level of weight bearing when we are in the water and this reduces the stress that’s put on the body. This helps people that are recovering from surgery or injuries, the elderly or those that may be too overweight to exercise. The deeper the water the more compressional stress is removed from the body. As a client improves we can adjust the load on the body by moving to shallower water. Deeper water can also be used to allow exercises to reproduce traction on the spine and joints.
A large volume of water creates resistance
Movement in water is always under the resistance of the water that is displaced and the resistance is controlled by two factors. Moving greater volumes of water adds more resistance to movement. The quicker the movement, the more resistance that is generated, meaning that the intensity of exercise can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the speed of movement in water. The volume and water moved and speed of movement are used to make hydrotherapy exercises harder or easier and progress a client as their ability improves.
Improve your core
The movement of the water creates a rocky environment, forcing the core muscles to work hard to remain balanced in the water. A Hydro Physiotherapist is able to use the water environment to challenge these muscles as a clients core stability improves.
Increase circulation, relax muscles & relieve pain
The temperature of the hydrotherapy pool is approximately 33 degrees, this combined with water pressure, helps to improve circulation and decrease swelling throughout the body, helping to relax muscles and relieve pain.
Is hydrotherapy for me?
Hydrotherapy pools provide a private, enclosed and safe environment to exercise in. Before you begin any exercise program we recommend that you consult your doctor, physiotherapist or allied health practitioner to discuss any health concerns that you may have and find a program that suits you.