Aquatic Therapy

  • aquatic therapy rehabAquatic therapy involves performing exercises and functional activities in a heated pool. Strength and function gained in the pool translate to improvements on land. Patients with many different types of disabilities can benefit from aquatic therapy. It is especially useful in the treatment of acute pain, arthritis, orthopaedic reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), sports rehabilitation, post-mastectomy issues, neurological issues, prenatal or postpartum issues, balance deficits, and deconditioned patients.

    The Rehabilitation Institute at Memorial University Medical Center has an in-ground pool that is 40 feet long and 11 feet wide. The pool has multiple depths, ranging from four feet to six-and-a-half feet, to accommodate a wide variety of patients. The water temperature is 90 to 93 degrees. Beneath the surface of the pool is a high-tech underwater camera system. It features three cameras that can view and record underwater activity from different angles. The images are displayed on two monitors where therapists can view and correct patients during therapy. Patients can also view their own underwater performance.

    Another feature of the aquatic therapy program is an underwater treadmill. It expands therapeutic options by treating gait dysfunctions in a gravity-minimized environment. The pool also has an Aqua Gym multi-workout station and a bench area with jets where patients can relax after therapy.

    Aquatic therapy is available to people of all ages. However, some medical conditions do prohibit this type of therapy.

    Benefits of Aquatic Therapy
    Patients using aquatic therapy often see benefits that they cannot get on land, such as:

    • Less effort with movement
    • Pain reduction
    • Muscle relaxation
    • Increased functional abilities
    • Decreased fear of falling
    • Opportunity to train in a gravity-minimized environment while being immersed in a resistive medium
    • Decreased weight bearing, allowing for early weight-bearing therapy and decreased pain with such activities
    • Decreased swelling
    • Resistance can be increased through movements, thereby increasing strength
    • Movements can be supported, assisted, or resisted by buoyancy
    • Allows increased time for patients' equilibrium reactions