Water immersion allows patients to perform movements they may be unable to perform on land. Exercises can be performed with greater ease and less pain. With hydrotherapy, patients cana therefore begin earlier and progress through their recovery journey more effeciently.
The beneficial physical properties of water are many:
- The upward force of buoyancy counter balances the negative downward effects of gravity; it greatly decreases the impact forces that your body is subjected to in traditional land therapy sessions. When standing chest deep high in water your body weight is reduced by 80%. Therefore, an individual weighing 200lbs on land only weighs 40lbs in the water and the ability to safely perform exercise therapy is greatly enhanced.
- Hydrostatic pressure is the force exerted on the body when immersed in water. This pressure can help control/decrease swelling in an injured area and support an increase in joint range of motion.
- Water viscosity (drag and resistance principal) increases resistance to movement in water making movement up to 12% more difficult. This increases the positive impact of muscle strengthening exercises. Happily, the support provided through the water’s buoyancy effect (reduced weight bearing) means this additional resistance is often not felt by the patient. You can move more freely in water with reduced pain and at the same time increase your muscle strength, balance and flexibility.
- Thermodynamic – “Water is an efficient conductor, transferring heat 25 times faster than air. This thermal conductive property, in combination with the high specific heat of water, makes the use of water in rehabilitation very versatile because water retains heat or cold while delivering it easily to the immersed body type.”
– Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy, Bruce Becker, MD and Andrew Cole MD.