7 Conditions Underwater Therapy Can Help
By Adrienne Erin
Aquatic therapy has been around for generations thanks to its ability to help cure or lessen common medical conditions.Historically, this type of therapy has taken place in regular pools or spas; now, with technological advances, some therapy pools include underwater treadmills and resistance jets as well.This enables physical and occupational therapists to use more types of exercises to achieve their patients’ goals as they try to overcome the symptoms associated with the following conditions.
Obesity is technically defined by a person having a BMI of 30+.It’s a growing problem in the United States and can lead to other conditions, such as diabetes, early death, arthritis and heart disease.Underwater therapy enables those who are morbidly obese to exercise in a forgiving environment since their body weight is not as much of a factor as it is on land.With gravitational forces putting less demand on their limbs while they are underwater, patients can move with more freedom and burn calories in the process.
Osteoarthritis affects adults as they age, making movement very difficult, especially during flair-ups.Many men and women treat this condition with prescriptions and over-the-counter remedies; however, natural methods, such as therapy in a warm-water pool equipped with treadmill floor, promote healing, movement and comfort without pharmaceuticals. Many patients say that the results they get from hydrotherapy sessions last long after they have left the pool, making day-to-day activities easier.
3. Muscle Strains
Athletes are at the top of the charts of therapy pool users thanks to all the muscle strains and sprains they experience.Their coaches and physical therapists often use hydrotherapy as a way to keep the athletes from losing lean muscle mass as they recover from injuries.That way, the athletes are able to return to play faster than if they only engaged in land-based therapies.
4. ACL Surgery
Surgeries of the ACL have become commonplace, especially among recreationally and professional athletes.While the ACL surgery site is mending, the patient can successfully undergo underwater therapy without risking further tears of the muscles or tendons.Walking on an underwater treadmill helps keep the athlete’s gait as even as possible, making recovery faster and more efficient.
5. Chronic Pain
Many medical conditions cause chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia.Pain of this nature does not typically go away on its own, making daily activities excruciating for men, women and children.Reports have shown that when these same sufferers exercise regularly in a warm-water therapy pool, they are more likely to be able to continue movement on land without as much discomfort.Plus, they can keep their weight to a healthy level, which is important for all individuals.
6. Neurological Disorders
Those who face neurological disorders may have difficulty moving safely on land because their motor skills have been compromised.For instance, people who have experienced stroke may find that balance is difficult on land.Therapy in a pool enables these persons to safely re-learn how to keep their bodies stable in both water and land situations.
7. Pediatric Conditions
Certain conditions affecting children, such as tactile defensiveness, can be addressed more successfully in physical therapy when hydrotherapy sessions are interwoven with land-based exercises. Young patients tend to enjoy the pool atmosphere and consider it a fun alternative to land activities; this relaxes them and leaves them open to trying new tasks. As they move their bodies in the forgiving pool atmosphere, they can achieve the goals as set by their physical therapists.
It’s little wonder that so many underwater therapy clinics have opened around the country. Given the successful outcomes experienced by people with numerous types of conditions, aquatic therapy is likely to continue to increase in popularity.
Adrienne Erin is a freelance writer interested in doing what it takes to live a healthier life. You can follow her on Twitter at @foodierx and read more of her work on her blog Foodie Fitness.