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Why Do Hydrotherapy?

February 4, 2021

Why is Hydrotherapy good for me?

Hydrotherapy is water based exercise therapy that is used to assist in the treatment or management of chronic health conditions or injuries which may include arthritis, chronic pain syndromes, cerebral palsy and knee and hip joint rehabilitation to name a few. Hydrotherapy differs from swimming in a pool as specific movements are prescribed to complete in a warm water pool to target certain conditions or injuries to help improve a person’s strength, mobility, reduce pain and overall improve quality of life.

A hydrotherapy pool is usually set at a warmer temperature of 33-36 degrees celsius as this heat allows the muscles to relax finding greater flexibility and better lubricates the joints. This allows for greater movement and function when compared to land-based exercises, whilst also providing pain relief

Hydrotherapy allows individuals to work at greater exercise intensities safely without the effect of gravity on their muscles and joints due to the non weight bearing buoyant environment provided by being in the water.

Benefits of hydrotherapy:

  • Allows you to work intensely with less strain on the joints of the body, therefore fantastic for rehabilitation.
  • Assists in the management of acute or chronic pain.
  • Effective rehabilitation for pre and post joint replacement surgery.
  • Safe exercise modality for those wanting to lose weight.
  • Improves blood flow circulation and reduces swelling.
  • Increases your metabolic rate.
  • Improves muscular strength, balance and aerobic capacity.
  • Reduces pain and joint compression, therefore increasing function.
  • Improves flexibility and proprioception (your body’s awareness in space).
  • Allows individuals to complete exercises relatively ‘pain-free’ that wouldn’t be possible on land.
  • Aids relaxation and lowers stress levels.

So how does hydrotherapy work?

There are 6 main principles of hydrotherapy that we use and manipulate to prescribe exercises. We may use one or several principles at a time to achieve the desired outcome of exercise. These principles are as follows:
-Buoyancy can be used to assist, resist or support movement (ie: when we are immersed in water to our hips, this reduces our weight-bearing to approximately 50%).

-Viscosity and surface tension impacts the resistance that can occur during movement by changing the speed of movement, the size of the object moving through the surface and by breaking the surface tension (ie: the faster we push and pull a dumbbell in water, this increases the level of resistance for the body to overcome).

-Drag is the force exerted on an object passing through a fluid that leads to the slowing down of the movement. This relates to the viscosity of water and turbulence (ie: walking in water requires more effort than walking on land).

-Turbulence is the irregular movement of water molecules, which is typically from your own movement in water (ie: it creates an unable environment therefore encouraging engagement of the core muscles to create stability and maintain correct posture).

-Thermal influence takes advantage of the body’s response to being in a warm or cold environment. (ie: Being immersed in a warm pool increases circulation, aids relaxation and reduces pain).

-Hydrostatic pressure is the pressure that is exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at any given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases in proportion to the depth of immersion in the water (ie: Hydrostatic pressure can improve lymphatic flow, as well as airway resistance).

Before you commence hydrotherapy it is important to speak with your allied health professional to see if hydrotherapy is appropriate for you.

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