Healing Properties of Water in Aquatic Physical Therapy
Buoyancy, viscosity, hydrostatic pressure and water temperature
Aquatic Physical Therapy consists of an exercise program and that is performed in warm water, for people who need rehabilitation but can not perform movements on land due to pain and physical disabilities.
Aqua Physical Therapy is useful for a variety of medical conditions, especially beneficial for people who have difficulty with weight-bearing activities.
Aquatic Physical Therapy uses the physical properties of water like buoyancy, viscosity, hydrostatic pressure and water temperature to assist in healing and exercise performance.
One benefit of Aquatic Physical Therapy is the buoyancy provided by the water. While submerged in water, buoyancy assists in supporting your weight. This decreases the amount of weight-bearing which reduces the force of stress placed on the joints.
This aspect of Aquatic Physical Therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones, or who are overweight. By decreasing the amount of joint stress it is easier and less painful to perform exercises.
Water viscosity provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily incorporated into an Aquatic Physical Therapy exercise program.
This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need of weights. Using resistance coupled with the water’s buoyancy allows you to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that can not be experienced on land.
Aquatic Physical Therapy also utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling and improve joint position awareness. The hydrostatic pressure produces forces perpendicular to the body’s surface.
This pressure provides joint positional awareness. As a result, your proprioception is improved. This is important in the case of joint sprains, and torn ligaments. The hydrostatic pressure also assists in decreasing joint and soft tissue swelling that results after injury or with arthritic disorders.
The warmth of the water experience during Aquatic Physical Therapy assists in relaxing muscles and widening blood vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas. This property of water is most beneficial for muscle spasms, back pain, and Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Aquatic Physical Therapy and Healing
Aquatic Physical Therapy promotes healing to injured tissues. By exercising in body temperature water, vasodilation of the blood vessels increases blood flow to injured areas, resulting proper oxygen delivery and speeding up elimination of toxins.