What Is Aquatic Therapy?

What Is Aquatic Therapy?

Whether you’ve suffered an acute injury or have ongoing pain or stress from a chronic illness such as arthritis, you have options when it comes to recovery techniques.

One such style of therapy can work wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing – aquatic therapy.

The Technique

Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy, offered in a warm water environment, that facilitates walking, joint and muscle mobility, balance, and reduction in swelling. Not all aquatic therapy sessions are alike! Your physical therapist will assess your strengths and weaknesses and build a program that is specific to your needs, and that will promote functional independence for you to return to your daily activities on land as soon as possible.

The Benefits

Exercising in the water is typically easier to tolerate than land-based exercise. The warmth of the water produces relaxation, decreased muscle tension, and often a reduction in anxiety or fear that may be associated with therapy. The buoyancy of the water allows for decreased stress on your joints, making walking and weight-bearing more comfortable. The hydrostatic pressure of the water on your limbs can help to reduce swelling, therefore allowing better circulation and mobility of the affected joint. For those who struggle with balance, aquatic therapy is a great way to work on stability without the fear of falling on a hard surface.

The Results

Studies have proven that aquatic therapy has great benefits for people with chronic illnesses, such as osteoarthritis. Research from the American Physical Therapy Association found that 72% of sufferers saw marked improvements in pain reduction and 75% in overall joint function as a result of just six weeks of aquatic therapy. A 2014 study of women who suffer from fibromyalgia found that four months of aquatic therapy significantly improved their quality of sleep, cognitive function and physical abilities.

The Opportunities

The best results will come from scheduling an aquatic therapy session with a licensed, trusted professional. If you are interested in aquatic therapy, and want to learn more, check out www.orthopedicinstitutesf.com/services/aquatic-therapy/ or call Orthopedic Institute to schedule an appointment at our physical therapy location inside the GreatLife Woodlake Athletic Club. 605.977.6845 or 1.866.777.7678.

Aquatic Therapy: Treatment Offers Gentle Alternative for Some Orthopedic Patients

Article by Darcie Bontje, Sioux Falls Woman

While physical therapy is the prescribed course of treatment for many orthopedic injury sufferers, a land-based regimen is not suitable for some patients.

Brad Pfeifle, vice president of Sports Medicine and Rehab Services at Orthopedic Institute, says that’s where OI’s new aquatic therapy program fits in. “This is a great adjunct to our current physical therapy services for patients who can’t tolerate ground-based rehabilitation services.”

Through its partnership with GreatLife Malaska Fitness Club, Orthopedic Institute now offers aquatic therapy at GreatLife Woodlake Athletic Club, 4600 Tennis Lane in Sioux Falls.

Aquatic therapy allows patients who are unable to fully weight bear to ambulate sooner because they are more buoyant, Brad says.

The treatment minimizes swelling, improves range of motion, gently builds strength and decreases the impact on joints.  It can be used independently, where a patient is gradually transitioned to land-based therapy, or in combination with a ground-based program.

Benefits of aquatic therapy:

  • Reduce pain
  • Minimize swelling
  • Improve range of motion
  • Gently build strength and muscle tone
  • Reduce fall risk
  • Improve circulation
  • Decrease impact on joints

Orthopedic Institute’s licensed physical therapists provide one-on-one sessions for patients in Woodlake’s therapy pool, which ranges from 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit and features a wheelchair lift.  The pool depth ranges from 3.5-6 feet.

The Woodlake facility also caters to privacy.  “Patients can go from the locker room to the pool and back to the locker room without having to walk around the facility.  This unique setup really takes away the intimidation factor,” he says.

We have been building this program for more than a year,” says Brad, who adds that standardized therapy protocols will be closely followed.  “This is great for the community and something that people are really going to benefit from.”

Insurance does provide reimbursement for aquatic therapy and OI accepts outside referrals, he says.

“Whether someone is a surgical or nonsurgical patient, our ultimate goal at Orthopedic Institute is to get them back to an active, healthy lifestyle,” Brad says.  “Water therapy is a great median for that.”

For more information on aquatic therapy, call 605-977-6845.