Aqua Therapy

Clinically Proven Aqua Therapy To Accelerate Healing

Aqua therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is a specialized form of physical therapy or occupational therapy. As the name suggests, aquatic exercise therapy is performed while an individual is partially submerged in water. The therapeutic benefits of performing physical movement within water range from relaxation and fitness to physical rehabilitation. 

 

As opposed to land therapy which works with the resistance of gravity and weights, water therapy utilizes the buoyancy of water to support the body while performing exercises. This reduces the impact, pressure, and stress on injured joints and muscles and provides an overall safer method for improving balance and strength.

Regardless of the specific type of injury, pool therapy takes place in one of the best environments to achieve relief from various neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders. Hydro pool therapy is also the preferred choice for those who are physically unable to exercise on land and wish to improve strength and endurance.

Our Aqua Therapy Program is individually designed for the specific type of injury you’re working with and the results you’re looking for. Provided by our qualified healthcare providers in a pool heated to 32°C with salted water, this unique form of therapy is accessible to all individuals, including those requiring a chair lift. Our therapeutic pools and aquatherapy sessions are available at both our Barrie and Vaughan location.

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aqua therapy

Benefits Of Aqua Therapy

Specifically designed aqua therapy exercises and techniques utilize the properties of water such as buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure to add another dimension to rehabilitation therapy which could not be accomplished on dry land. 

Our Aqua Therapy Program will be tailored to the patient’s needs with overall goals of:

  • decreasing pain and discomfort
  • decreasing swelling of injured joints and tissues
  • increasing muscle and core strength
  • increasing proprioceptive awareness and overall functional abilities 
  • increasing range of motion
  • reducing muscle spasticity, improving endurance and cardiovascular function

Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy

For individuals with cerebral palsy, herniated disc, multiple sclerosis, and back, leg, or knee injuries, aquatic physical therapy in Hydroactive’s state-of-the-art, salt water pool takes place under the close supervision of our trained healthcare professionals. Specifically designed aqua therapy exercises and techniques utilize the properties of water such as buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure to add another dimension to rehabilitation therapy which could not be accomplished on dry land. 

This is the main benefit to water physical therapy. That is, individuals who are injured, disabled, or for any reason not able to perform land exercise, are still able to use pool exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance in a safe and structured environment. But aqua physio is not limited to only this advantage.

Warm water physical therapy in a salt water pool is a relaxing and soothing environment in and of itself. Simply submerging aching joints and muscles in warm, salt water has a significant and positive impact on injuries. The natural properties of water, such as its viscosity, buoyancy, and hydrostatic pressure are also key ingredients in water physiotherapy. Viscosity, also known as resistance, is used to strengthen muscles, while buoyancy reduces the impact of gravity on muscles and joints, and hydrostatic pressure supports clients with balance deficits.

Owing to these properties, aqua physiotherapypoo generally results in less pain throughout rehabilitation and the recovery process – and less pain is generally associated with a higher quality of life.

Advantages Of Aqua Therapy

Because water is denser than air, it exerts more pressure on the patient. This is because the water constantly adjusts its shape to accommodate the patient’s movements. It compresses the skin, muscles, and joints via a concept called hydrostatic pressure. This concept forces the heart and lungs to work harder because the chest cavity is under direct pressure. In addition, it acts as a compression bandage for the entire body, helping to relieve chronic muscle aches when the patient is submerged neck-deep. Water has multiple therapeutic benefits that stem from hydrostatic pressure.

The nervous system has an acute network of nerve endings in the skin and muscles that can respond to the slightest stimulus. Under a constant stimulus, such as pressure from water that the body is not used to, the nervous system will automatically dull the reticular system, which is the part of the brain responsible for dealing with tactile sensory neurons. This can also help to dull muscle pain, making it easier for you to stretch your muscles to their full range of motion to speed up treatment. One of the biggest obstacles to physical therapy is the pain involved in moving injured muscles to restore their function. Patients often have to be coaxed by their practitioner/therapist, which can take up session time. Also, people who dislike being touched often feel calmer in water because their sense of touch isn’t as acute.

One of the biggest aquatic therapy benefits is the constant resistance water offers when compared to air. Aquatic exercises are some of the most energy-intensive workouts that exist. Being forced to exert more energy to perform accustomed motions helps tone atrophied muscles faster by using more muscle fibers, and the presence of water helps reduce pain. It also helps to keep the patient standing and minimizes a possible fear of falling due to water’s buoyancy.

The natural viscosity and resistance water provide forces the patient to move more slowly. This allows the brain to process the signals from your muscles more thoroughly because it has more time, an ideal benefit for rebuilding muscle memory. If someone has a neuromuscular condition or other impairment, muscle re-education is made easier by the presence of water due to this property. Even outside of aquatic therapy, performing exercises in water makes the patient focus on taking the muscle properly through its full range of motion because the patient isn’t able to move as quickly and can think about how their body is moving.

Being in the water allows the therapist to swim around you in order to work with all parts of your body, so you will not have to worry about turning over when you are comfortable or when preparing to do another exercise. Aquatic therapy makes it easier for both you and your therapist.

Because of hydrostatic pressure, the patient’s heart is under constant pressure. Also, water typically used for aquatic therapy is usually kept at warmer-than-average temperatures because warmth promotes circulation. Increased blood flow to the limbs helps promote healing. For patients with weaker heart muscles, this can compensate for poor circulation by getting oxygen-rich blood to reach the periphery of the body.

Warm water helps to dilate blood vessels, improving circulation to the muscles. Muscle soreness is caused by lactic acid build-up, and the increased blood flow carries lactic acid away from the muscles and eases soreness. Sore muscles after a hard workout can demotivate the patient because of the pain involved. Therefore, one of the biggest aquatic therapy benefits is that of relaxing muscles and increase compliance and participation after the session is over. This also helps prevent accidental injury from overtraining, reducing the level of stress inflicted on healing muscles, cartilage, or connective tissue.

Water flows in currents when you move through it. The gentle flow of water molecules around the body can acts as a natural form of massage, helping to further promote circulation and the relaxation of tired or sore muscles.

One of the most important aquatic therapy benefits is it helps promote a positive, reinforcing environment for the patient to work in. The light-hearted atmosphere that water promotes is vital to the healing process, especially because it’s easy to get discouraged when exercises are hard, too painful, or too boring/redundant to perform. Although aqua therapy is designed to rehabilitate the body, it can also benefit the mind.

Advantages Of Aqua Therapy

Aqua Therapy vs Water Exercises

Aqua therapy is not the same as aqua aerobics. While both take place in a pool environment with individuals partially submerged in water, that is where the similarities end. The most simplistic way to differ between the two is that aquatic therapy is a form of physical medicine and aqua fitness is not.

As a form of physical medicine for people who are injured or disabled, aquatic therapy involves a highly personalized treatment program that is developed and supervised by trained medical professionals. These treatment programs and the pool exercises involved are developed with specificity and structure to address the precise injury or disability of the patient. Aqua therapy is typically covered under many insurance policies.

Aqua fitness or aqua aerobics, on the other hand, is taught in group settings for people with varying levels of physical fitness. It does not require that the provider have medical training or a specialty in rehabilitation, and it’s never covered by insurance. Using aqua aerobics as a way to rehabilitate after an injury is unsafe and can lead to an exacerbation of pain and other symptoms. This is because many of the pool exercises are too strenuous and push the body beyond the limits of the specific injury of the individual.

If you have an injury or disability, please do not confuse aqua therapy with aqua aerobics or try to supplement the former for the latter. Aqua therapy is highly individualized and specialized in order to support the recovery and healing process, while aqua aerobics can actually lead to further injury.

Therapeutic Pool Exercises for Seniors 

Physical exercise is important for everybody, but it’s particularly important for aging adults. Amongst seniors, regular exercise has been shown to improve cognitive function, prevent disease, improve mental health and well-being, lower the risk of falls, and even strengthen social ties. For this reason, seniors are recommended to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, two days per week of muscle-strengthening activities, and three days per week of activities that improve balance.

However, because of some of the limitations of an aging physical body as well as some chronic conditions that can develop in this age group, not all physical activities are suitable for seniors. Exercises must be carefully considered for both effectiveness and safety. While various types of land therapy can actually increase pressure on joints and bones and pose a hazard to seniors with flexibility and balance issues, aqua therapy for seniors is among one of the safest and most effective physical activities that seniors can engage in.

A warm salt water pool, like that of Hydroactive, is a comfortable environment for seniors to perform regular exercise and maintain good physical, mental, and social health. Aqua therapy physical benefits for seniors include increased flexibility, improved cardiovascular health, and greater strength and lean muscle mass. The warm, salt water improves blood circulation that can help relieve joint pain and symptoms of arthritis, and the buoyancy of the water eliminates the risk of potential falls while performing aerobic, strength-building, and balance-related activities.

Hydrotherapy for Special Needs

Physical activity is an essential part of good health, well-being, and quality of life. Everybody benefits from moving their body and exercising, and that includes individuals with special needs. Of course, the potential advantages of physical activity for people with physical or mental handicaps varies depending on that person’s unique need. In general, though, physical activity is an important element of supporting physical, emotional, and social health and well-being for these individuals – and that’s especially true for children. 

Hydrotherapy for special needs adults and children is an excellent option for some individuals, depending on their specific need. For those with physical disabilities or who have limited to no use of their appendages, for example, pool exercises provide a safe alternative to land based exercise. This can help strengthen muscles and prevent muscular atrophy, ease blood flow through the body for improved cardiovascular health, and also provide a space for relaxation and relief from chronic joint and muscle pain.

For adults and children with developmental disabilities, the benefits above may also apply, among many others. Regular fitness works with the neuroplasticity of the brain, which can result in all sorts of behavioral and cognitive breakthroughs. Special needs individuals may experience or demonstrate improvements in self-esteem and self-confidence, enhanced decisions making skills, and even better verbal communication by interacting with peers through sport. The heated salt water is also calming on the nervous system, which can have positive outcomes on emotional outbursts and related behaviors. 

Please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before considering hydrotherapy for special needs. They’ll help you better understand the best approach to hydrotherapy for the specific disability or health condition you are dealing with.

 

Get In Touch Or Call 905-879-1251 To Speak To Us Directly

About us:

Hydroactive Aqua Therapy and Rehabilitation Center is Vaughan’s newest and most advanced injury and motor vehicle accident recovery facility. Our clinic features a state of the art swimming pool applying the latest technology in rehabilitation science. The main goal of our clinic is to help you achieve better health both quickly and efficiently.

Services:

REGISTERED WITH:

Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA)

Financial Services Commission Of Ontario

Health Claims For Auto Insurance

TELUS Health eClaims

Locations:

Vaughan

Barrie

1-676 Westburne Dr. Vaughan, ON, L4K 4V5

905-879-1251

info@hydroactive.ca

71 Commerce Park Drive, Barrie, ON L4N 8X1

705-719-1221

barrie@hydroactive.ca

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