Hydrotherapy, often known as aquatic therapy, is any exercise that is conducted in warm water to aid in the treatment and rehabilitation of neurologic and musculoskeletal conditions.
However, hot water may also be used depending on the disease being treated. Therapists may provide care at a rehabilitation centre or in the patient’s home. The primary benefits of this therapy are muscle relaxation, improved joint mobility, and pain reduction. For thousands of years, people have utilised this treatment.
How Does Hydrotherapy Work?
The warm water used in hydrotherapy:
- Supports the body and improves stability
- Offers resistance for muscular building
- Increases circulation
- Aids in muscular relaxation, and
- Reduces discomfort
Topical applications of cold or hot water pack compress, baths, pools, saunas, showers, enemas, and colonics are all forms of hydrotherapy. It can be used alone or in combination with other types of rehabilitation.
Hydrotherapy is also frequently utilised as a stepping stone for clients to go to a land-based fitness regimen.
When Should You Consider Hydrotherapy?
When a patient is engaging in land-based physical therapy activities and is experiencing a great deal of discomfort, aquatic therapy may be a beneficial solution. Physical therapy and rehabilitation typically involve vigorous activities that can be very unpleasant for certain patients.
However, exercising in an aquatic medium relieves joint stiffness and allows patients to flex their muscles more easily. Patients who undergo aquatic therapy programs after an injury generally recover quicker than patients who receive land-based therapies.
What Are the Benefits of Hydrotherapy?
The physiologic properties of water, such as buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, viscosity, refraction, and specific heat, are commonly used in hydrotherapy as part of the physiotherapy treatment and they can result in the following benefits:
- Aquatic therapy has also been recommended as part of some weight control regimens. However, scientific studies to confirm its effectiveness are inadequate.
- Whirlpool and Hubbard tank baths are used as an alternative therapy for degenerative arthritis and acute musculoskeletal injuries, as well as for cleaning and exfoliation of burns or skin ulcerations.
- Patients suffering from musculoskeletal discomfort and spasms can benefit from the:
- massage provided by water turbulence
- therapeutic impact of water temperature, and
- the reduced stress on bones and joints provided by the pool of water.
- Hydrotherapy is also beneficial in the treatment of oedema and its accompanying puffiness. When there is a risk of infection, antibacterial treatments such as sodium hypochlorite or povidone-iodine might be added to the water.
- By alternating heat and cold cyclic vasodilation and vasoconstriction, contrast baths induce neurologic desensitization. Contrast baths have also been used to treat acute and long-term inflammatory diseases, as well as restricted venous circulation, indolent ulcers, nerve pain, osteoarthritis, severe pain disorders, and complex regional pain syndrome.
- Water provides a pleasant environment to stretch and relax for individuals who are in pain or who are unable to exercise on land. As there is less risk of falling or injuring the wounded or painful places, the ease of mobility allows the patient to gain considerably more advantage than on land and gives the patient the confidence to work towards a speedy recovery.
If you want to begin hydrotherapy, our Physiotherapists can assist you in developing the best program for you. It is essential to stay active; but, if you find land to be difficult, hydrotherapy may be the ideal option for you. It will help you enhance your health and well-being without harming your joints or intensifying your discomfort.
* Contact Reach Physiotherapy for a list of references used for this blog content.