How Aquatic Therapy Can Improve One’s Wellbeing
Aquatic therapy is not a new term. It is a form of physical therapy that makes use of an aquatic environment to improve function, flexibility, and locomotion. During aquatic therapy, the physical therapist performs the treatments and exercises in warm water with or without the use of supportive devices and equipment.
Aquatic therapy is especially beneficial for children with autism and individuals with conditions that limit physical movement. It improves their quality of life by minimizing pain, strengthening joints and muscles, and speeding up recovery. It is also a great stress reliever and an excellent confidence booster. Let’s have a deeper look at this unique form of therapy.
What Are The Benefits Of Aquatic Therapy?
1. Higher Resistance during Therapeutic Workout
Water has high viscosity, which provides a higher resistance when exercising. Even if you don’t feel it, you’re actually always going against some significant resistance. A quick test you can do is walking with your feet inside shallow water for some distance. You can do this in the shallow end of a swimming pool or on the beach. You’ll notice it’s more tiring than walking on land. It leads to the engagement of more muscles. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening and muscle balance, which relieves back pain and orthopedic problems. It also improves the quality of life for hemophilia patients by increasing their range of motion and joint strength.
2. It Enables Muscle Re-education
Muscle re-education refers to the restoration of regular body movement patterns. It restores nerve signals between the muscles and brain for people with neurological impairment. This process is most effective in water. The body movements will be much slower, allowing the individual more time to process these movements. If you’re a person living with TBI (traumatic brain injury), the extra time you’ll spend processing will make you more aware of your body’s movements.
3. It Makes Exercising Easier
Water supports the weight of the body. It reduces the amount of force placed on the joints of arthritic patients, individuals with fractured bones, or those who are overweight. By reducing the weight that the individual has to bear, they can exercise easily without experiencing joint pains and stress. Seeing their progress fills them with hope for a healthy life and provides a confidence boost. As a form of exercise, swimming helps build endurance in your muscles and lungs. You’re able to use oxygen more effectively. This in turn helps you to stay alert and get more energy. And as an added bonus, you will not have to deal with feeling hot and sweaty.
4. It Provides Comfort
Aquatic therapy decreases pain as well as swelling on joints and soft tissue. It is beneficial to individuals experiencing muscle spasms, back pain, and fibromyalgia. It provides comfort from soreness and pain by increasing blood circulation to these injured areas. The relief from physical pain translates into reduced emotional stress.
What Is Aquatic Therapy For Autism?
Aquatic therapy is an effective solution for autism. Specialists use it in the treatment process for children diagnosed with the condition. It enables them to exercise and keeps the child fit. It quips them with the motor functions necessary to continue exercising on their own. Aquatic therapy sessions help the child improve their interpersonal skills, develop their frustration tolerance, and gain impulse control. Aquatic therapy for autism increases the child’s ability to follow instructions and also enables them to tolerate touch better.
Why Choose Aquatic Therapy?
Three aspects make aquatic therapy the ideal option for physical therapy.
Buoyancy is a force that pushes an object placed on water upward. It acts against the force of gravity, making a person feel lighter. A therapist can manipulate the amount of weight offloaded from the individual. When submerged to waist level, a person’s weight is reduced to between 40% and 50% of their normal weight on land. When submerged chest-deep, they will experience 25% to 30% of their body weight and only 10% of their wait when the water is up to the neck.
Hydrostatic pressure refers to the natural pressure of the water. It can be utilized without the need to engage in any form of movement. It reduces edema by pushing fluid from the swollen area. The pressure also reduces pain, making movement easier. It improves circulation as well and decreases blood pressure.
Warm water relaxes the muscles and tissues in preparation for the therapy session. It also reduces involuntary spastic movements, which is common for people with neurological impairment. The environment should be at least two to three degrees warmer than the water. It keeps the individual from getting too chilly upon leaving the pool.
In a nutshell, aquatic therapy provides a unique method of improving physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. It makes use of hydrostatic pressure, temperature variation, and buoyancy. With a qualified aquatic therapist, you are sure to experience a change in your life.