Put simply, aquatic therapy (also called "pool therapy" or "water therapy") is an exercise program performed in water and is mostly used by athletes wanting unique conditioning and physical therapists treating numerous medical conditions. Aqua therapy is actually one of the oldest medical treatments, and dates back to Hippocrates time; the Romans are credited with the first documented treatment of orthopedic injuries with water.
What are the benefits of water therapy?
Water provides natural buoyancy which helps support you when you are in water, and decreases the stress on the body's joints allowing you to strengthen and condition your muscles even as an injury heals (water's resistance assists in this as well). Athletes utilize water's resistance during aquatic exercise for low impact, whole body conditioning.
Physical therapists often refer to the "hydrostatic pressure" of water, and this is a fancy way of saying the gentle water pressure reduces swelling (especially important for arthritis sufferers and those with injuries). Finally, most water therapy takes place in warm water and the warmth helps relax muscles, increases blood flow to injured areas, and allows patients in pain to move freely and pain free.
Whether you are recovering from an injury, suffering from a medical condition (or limited mobility), or just wanting a water workout there are a variety of water therapy products available to meet all your needs.
Water Therapy Frequently Asked Questions
I don't move well. How am I supposed to get into the pool?
For people with limited mobility just getting in to and out of the pool presents a formidable challenge. Pool lifts are innovative devices which allow people with extreme mobility issues to enjoy water therapy in a safe and secure manner. With a wide variety of pool lifts currently available on the market it can be confusing to figure out the best pool lift for you, so we've put together information to help you choose the best pool lift here. Portable pool lifts like the PAL 1000 Portable Aquatic Pool Lift or Portable Pro Pool Lift have the advantage of being able to be easily moved away from the pool for storage. In comparinson, permanently installed pool lifts such as the Pro Pool Lift, allow the user to not have to worry about having assistance constantly removing and reinserting the pool lift (as is the drawback to portable pool lifts). Some people consider the AXS Semi Portable Aquatic Pool Liftthe ideal "middle ground" product.
Pool lifts can allow people in wheelchairs to transfer safely from their chair to the pool, but the inventive AquaTrek Aquatic Wheelchair is fully sealed so it can be completely submerged underwater. For that wheelchair user, the AquaTrek Pool Ramp allows the wheelchair to be lowered from the pool edge all the way into the pool so never getting out of the wheelchair is an option. For information on other pool transfer devices such as pool transfer platforms, click here.
With my cast showering is hard enough; how can I enjoy the benefits of pool therapy with my cast still on?
While injuries requiring casts won't usually require a pool lift, the ability to keep casts dry has long plagued mothers on the sides of swimming pools attempting to keep their child's cast dry by wrapping it in plastic shopping bags, rubber bands, tape, and admonishing them to "be careful!" Thankfully the days of using plastic shopping bags in an effort to keep casts dry are long gone, and cast covers such as the Seal Tight Original Cast and Bandage Protector and Dry Pro Waterproof Cast Protector Cover are affordable, reliable ways to keep casts dry in water. Children's casts should be covered with pediatric sized covers such as the Seal Tight Original Pediatric or the Seal Tight Sport Pediatric for a better fit.
What are some of my options for water exercise?
Water exercises are utilized for aquatic physical therapy and regular fitness needs. The Aquabilt Aquatic Treadmill and Incline Aquatic Underwater Treadmill by Aquabilt are used by aquatic therapists for patients with leg injuries; running underwater is easier on the joints so people with leg injuries can run on an underwater treadmill long before they can do the same on land. Athletes take advantage of additional resistance by running underwater. If a treadmill is never exciting to you (even underwater) consider the FitMax Aquatic Walker.
Some people like the benefits of underwater running, but over time complain of their feet hurting. If you are concerned or suffer from the same, put on the AQx Aquatic Training Shoes before your underwater runs. They are specially designed for exercise in water with sticky soles to prevent slipping on pool surfaces, and provide 20-30% more resistance to leg movements in the water. Use the aquatic shoes with the AQx Sports Zero Gravity Flotation Swim Suit for deep water running and benefit from even greater resistance, greater range of motion, greater warmth, improved circulation, and a wide variety of water exercise utilizing just the suit alone!
If you can't get past the idea that shoes are for land and fins are for water, athletes (and swim coaches) rave about the patented Zoomers X2 Training Fins by FINIS. Unlike other fins, the Zoomers Fins work the leg muscles harder so you get a better workout, but simultaneously prevent leg cramps often caused from kicking.
If you like the idea of the low impact exercises in water, you don't necessarily need a special swim suit or shoes; there are numerous aquatic therapy hand bars and dumbbells. AquaJogger is a popular product line which includes the AquaJogger DeltaBells, AquaJogger Value Pack, and AquaJogger Women's Fitness System. SpaBells Aquatic Dumbells are great for free weight water exercise, and an ideal work out for everyone from the fitness novice to accomplished athletes.Click here to see more unique water exercise products.
What if I can't swim or am afraid of the water?
The majority of water therapy and aquatic exercises take place in the shallow part of the pool, so you don't need to be able to swim (think of it as a really big bathtub). If you have a fear of water in general, talk with your aquatic therapist (or personal trainer if you are doing water exercise for general fitness) about your fear and they can give you strategies and tips to be comfortable in the water (opt for private or one-on-one sessions in the beginning).
Aquatic therapy is ideal for treating medical conditions, helping injuries heal, and overall fitness. ActiveForever has a variety of innovative, affordable, high quality water therapy products for all your aquatic therapy needs. Buy aqua therapy products from ActiveForever.com today and start to feel the healing benefits and fitness advantages of water exercises.