In a special section of our building, behind a seriously cool looking glass wall is what appears to be a small swimming pool. It’s about 8’ x 12’, certainly not the type of pool you would do laps in. In fact it’s not a swimming pool at all. The rectangle of water the size of a small bedroom is a HydroWorx 2000 Aquatic Therapy Pool. Why does it have its own dedicated area behind glass? Because it’s awesome, it’s the only one in the area, and it’s worth showing off. In fact there’s a picture of it above.
At Pinamonti Wellness Center we use our HyrdoWorx 2000 aquatic therapy pool for a number of purposes such as physical therapy, athletic training and conditioning, and for a number of our group fitness classes that feature aquatic based exercises. For this week’s blog we’ll focus on its use in physical therapy and in the coming weeks we’ll examine some of its specific therapeutic uses.
So the first thing one might ask is “What is aquatic therapy?” Well, quite simply, it’s a form of physical therapy that is performed in an aquatic environment, which in this case is the pool. Now you may look at the pool and think “Wait, so you just do physical therapy in the water?” The answer is, like many things in life, a bit more complicated than that.
Physical therapy in an aquatic environment, along with the special features of this pool, enhances the physical therapy performed and has a number of benefits over land-therapy – which we’ll get to shortly.
Image courtesy HydroWorx.
The way the HydroWorx 2000 pool works is pretty amazing. Water provides unique properties that help relax your muscles and increase your range of motion and flexibility. The entire bottom of the pool is height adjustable. It can be elevated to be level with the floor for easy access and can then be lowered. In addition, the entire pool floor can operate as a treadmill. There are even resistance jets for training and conditioning.
Utilizing the body’s buoyancy at variable depths reduces body weight. This allows patients who are unable to move or exercise on land to be able to do so in the water because it allows you to move with little to almost no stress on your joints and muscles. As a result, pain is minimized. Because of this aquatic therapy can often begin before traditional land-based therapies and provides the fastest path to recovery.
The benefits of aquatic therapy are numerous. To quote HydroWorx:
“The biggest benefit of aquatic therapy is that people who are injured, disabled, or otherwise not capable of comfortably or safely performing exercises on land can easily do so in the water.”
To continue quoting form HydroWorx, here are some of the ways that water’s natural properties create an ideal therapeutic environment:
– Warm water provides a relaxing and soothing environment for aching joints and muscles.
– Water’s natural viscosity or resistance can be used for muscle strengthening and increasing rehabilitation progressions.
– Buoyancy allows for flotation and reduces the effects of gravity on injured or aching joints and muscles.
– Hydrostatic pressure supports and stabilizes the client, allowing people with balance deficits to perform exercises without a fear of falling, decreasing pain and improving cardiovascular return.
– Turbulence and wave propagation let the therapist gently manipulate the client through the desired exercises.
– The respiratory muscles are forced to work harder in the water, allowing for a natural strengthening that benefits the client long after the therapy session has ended.
Aquatic therapy is extremely helpful for a number of conditions and in the coming weeks we will address a number of them such as arthritis, balance disorders, chronic pain, arthroscopic surgery recovery, lower back pain, joint reconstruction/replacement surgery, sprains and strains, and more.
Pinamonti is the only physical therapy facility in the area with the HydroWorx 2000 pool. If you’re interested in our aquatic therapy call us at 620-235-1500 and see how it can benefit you.