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More Than Just a Swimming Pool: The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

By Majid Saedifar, DPT

A pool can be a great way to beat the heat on a hot summer day, a fun way to get exercise, or a good setting for a backyard barbeque. However, did you know that pools also have immense therapeutic potential? Here at Medstar Physical Therapy, we’re proud to offer patients in the Southern California area the opportunity to heal and build muscle through our aquatic therapy programs.

In order to understand why aquatic therapy has medical benefits, let’s look at some of the features that make it unique. Unlike the air around us, water is naturally buoyant. When we exercise on land, we’re constantly dealing with the effects of gravity, which adds another degree of stress to the musculoskeletal system. Through the use of weights and floatation devices, the level of resistance can also be fine-tuned to the patient and exercise type. Simply put, the water allows us to isolate the affected area and target it specifically with physical therapy.

Because of these factors, aquatic therapy has been a powerful tool in allowing patients to exercise and heal in cases where joint or muscle pain is so severe that even fighting against the forces of gravity is a challenge. Aquatic therapy has therefore become an effective modality in the treatment of severe arthritis, sprains, chronic pain, joint replacements, fibromyalgia, and a number of neurological disorders that affect locomotion.

In addition, the warm temperature of the water is therapeutic for the body. Because of the heat of the water, vasodilation of the blood vessels occurs, which causes more blood to flow to the area of discomfort, which in turn results in higher amounts of oxygen supplied to the site and faster healing of damaged tissue.

Aquatic therapy may not be a good option for patients with chlorine allergies, sensitive skin, and hygiene precautions prevent us from offering the treatment to those who suffer from incontinence. Aquatic therapy may also be a bad fit for patients with hypertension, as the exercise can increase blood pressure.

To learn more about aquatic therapy and to determine whether or not it may be useful in treating your injury or complication, call us at (818) 244-0009 and a representative will assist you further.

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