Hydrostatic Pressure in Aquatic Therapy

Feeling Under Pressure During Your Hydrotherapy Sessions? This is a Good Thing.

Hydrostatic pressure is produced by the weight of a fluid, acts upon every body in the fluid, and is the same in all directions at a particular depth. Its increase rate is:


Seawater 1 kg/cm² per 9.75m
Fresh water 1 kg/cm² per 10m


At any given depth, the amount of pressure exerted on all surfaces of an immersed body is equal, resulting in even pressure around all joints during aquatic exercises. However, the amount of pressure exerted over the entire body increases as depth increases.

Water exerts pressure against the body, acting like a full body support hosiery during water activities. That is why hydrostatic pressure is especially useful for hydrotherapy participants who have excessive edema or swelling in certain areas.


Hydrostatic Pressure During Water Exercise can Increase Your Breathing Capacity on Land

The pressure of the water on the chest wall during aquatic exercise resists the muscles that expand the chest for breathing. Regular water exercise strengthens these muscles, allowing them to expand the chest more efficiently, which enables you to intake a greater volume of air during land activities. (For the same reason, it is inadvisable for people with respiratory problems to exercise in the water).


Why Hydrostatic Pressure Lets You Exercise More without Getting Sore

The increased hydrostatic pressure of the water helps to take the lactic acid out of the cells and delivers it to the liver more efficiently; so that muscles exercised under water do not feel as sore. Here are a few more benefits of hydrostatic pressure:

  •  Enhances venous return and cardiac functions
  •  Promotes body detoxification
  •  Assists participants to exercise more vigorously with less strain on the cardiovascular system
  •  Reduces training heart rate for a given workload
  •  Reduces swelling in injured or edematous (swollen) joints or limbs below the water
  •  Creates a training effect for the respirator muscles