Hydrotherapy – (now called Aquatic therapy) is a specialised form of physiotherapy treatment which is carried out in a hydrotherapy pool. Specific exercises are carried out under the guidance and direction of a specially qualified physiotherapist.
The hydrotherapy pool is maintained at an optimum therapeutic temperature; this is much warmer than most swimming pools (34 – 35 degrees)
The physical properties of water are utilised in this treatment; buoyancy, viscosity, warmth, hydrostatic pressure.
- Buoyancy provides support and resistance and increases range of movement. As support; the weight of the patient is supported by the water, this decreases the amount of weight bearing which, in turn, reduces the amount of stress on the joints, it is therefore less painful to exercise. As resistance it adds a challenge to stronger muscles, flotation aids may be used to be pushed through or submerged in the water causing the muscles involved to work much harder.
- Hydrostatic pressure ( the pressure which the water exerts on the body), helps the return of blood to the heart, causing it to work more efficiently, under less pressure, it decreases swelling and encourages more respiratory effort.
- Warmth; Relaxes muscles, increases blood flow.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy (Aquatic therapy)
- Accelerated rehabilitation
- Reduced stress on the joints (buoyancy reduces the stressful effects of gravity on the body)
- Protects joints during exercise
- Improved muscle strength, tone and endurance
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- Increased range of movement and flexibility
- Increased balance and co-ordination
- Reduced pain
- Reduced muscle spasm
- Improved posture and core stability, balance and co-ordination
- Reduction of oedema / swelling
- Increased circulation
- Respiratory benefit
- Improved metabolism and calorie burn
- Promotes relaxation and increased sense of well being
Conditions which benefit from hydrotherapy (Aquatic therapy)
- Post surgical rehabilitation; Following joint replacements, spinal surgery, fractures.
- Pre surgical preparation
It is also beneficial to attend for hydrotherapy pre operatively, before joint replacement surgery to strengthen the muscles; this will hasten your recovery and return to normal function post operatively
- Rehabilitation after sports injuries
- Neurological accidents or injuries i.e. stroke, brain accident / injury
- Spinal injury
- Arthritic problems
- Mobility problems
Hydrotherapy treatment - What to expect
Clients will attend an initial assessment, this is a 1 hour appointment and will usually include up to ½ hour in the hydrotherapy pool with the physiotherapist and her assistant.
The physiotherapist will first see you in the treatment room, she will take your medical history and ask you about the problems you are currently having, she will examine you and ascertain what you would like to achieve through treatment. A treatment plan will be agreed between you.
During your first session in the pool the physiotherapist will guide and assist you to perform a series of exercises specifically designed to address your problems, these may include strengthening exercises, stretching exercises and balance exercises.
Buoyancy aids such as inflated neck collars, body belts and foam noodles are used to assist you.
A hoist is available for those unable to enter the pool via the steps.
The water is warm, 34-35 degrees, exercise in the pool feels much easier than on dry land due to buoyancy and the lack of gravity.
Once you have attended a few sessions of hydrotherapy and there has been marked improvement in your condition, the physiotherapist may discuss with you moving on to other treatment options for attending either:
A hydrotherapy class: The class will be attended by 3-5 clients. The class is taken by the physiotherapist and the physio assistant. An exercise regime is carried out by all attendees. The hydrotherapy classes are popular, especially with our ladies, they are a fun way to maintain your fitness and the benefits which you have gained from your hydrotherapy treatment. The classes run at the same time each week.
Pool Exercise with assistance: The physiotherapist will prescribe a pool exercise regime for you. You will be supported and guided by a physiotherapy assistant. This option is recommended for clients who need a little more support in the pool and are therefore unable to carry out the pool exercise regime independently.
Pool Exercise: Clients attend to follow a prescribed exercise regime independently in the hydrotherapy pool. The exercise regime is reviewed by the physiotherapist on a regular basis.
NB: These treatment options are available at the physiotherapist's discretion. This decision will be made with your safety as our highest concern.
Patients normally attend once a week although sometimes it is preferable to attend twice weekly.
- Do not use body lotion or cream on the day of your treatment
- Allow plenty of time for changing - you MUST remove your shoes BEFORE entering the Pool area (you may wish to bring beach shoes or similar)
- If you need help with changing your carer is very welcome to come along
- Bring medication for angina or asthma with you
- If you have a foot infection then please wear swim socks
It is VERY IMPORTANT that you inform us:
- If you have been unwell
- If you have any open wounds
- If you have changed your medication
I can't swim / am afraid of water can I still attend?
Yes! It is not necessary to be able to swim to attend for hydrotherapy treatment. You will be accompanied by the physiotherapist and many buoyancy aids are used. If you are concerned please call us
How many hydrotherapy sessions will I need?
It is difficult to predict how quickly an individual will respond to treatment, the physiotherapist will be able to give you some idea of how many sessions she thinks you will need to attend for.
What should I bring with me?
- A swimming costume / swimming trunks
- Bathrobe if you wish (whilst seeing the physio for treatment you may borrow one of ours)
- Shower gel etc.