Hydrotherapy is any form of exercise, which is completed underwater. Here at our clinics, we have a Hydrotherapy pool that can be utilised in many ways. So what conditions is hydrotherapy useful for? And what are the benefits of Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy can increase muscle mass and strength. Resistance training can be completed in Hydrotherapy, for example, walking against a flow of water or using flotation devices such as pool noodles or kicking boards. Pushing these devices underneath the water, as a controlled exercise, constitutes resistance training and will increase strength and muscle mass. Walking against a constant flow of water is also a form of resistance training and will assist in improving lower limb and core strength. These are just some of the different forms of resistance training that can be completed through Hydrotherapy.
Hydrotherapy can also increase cardiovascular fitness. The pools at our clinics have underwater treadmills. These can adjust in speed, and with a flow of water, increase in resistance. This a form of CV fitness training which places far less stress on the joints of the lower limb than traditional walking or running. CV fitness can also be performed via various body weight exercises completed in the pool as a circuit.
Hydrotherapy is particularly useful for those who cannot complete exercise on land. This includes those who may be quite overweight, or who may be suffering from cancer and unable to complete land-based exercise. Lower limb joint arthritis also responds very well to Hydrotherapy, as do prehab and post-operative rehab clientele.
Hydrotherapy offers many benefits and advantages to those who utilise it, and may have benefits compared to land based exercise for certain populations. It is less strenuous and places lower forces through the joints of the lower limbs; however is still effective in improving strength, muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness.
1. Hydrotherapy improves pain and function in older women with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial, Dias et al 2017, Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy, Volume 21, Issue 6, November–December 2017, Pages 449-456