For hundreds of years, water rehabilitation has been used as a form of therapy by traditional healers. The medicinal use of water, referred to as hydrotherapy, can be used for conditions like muscle pain, injury or recovery after surgery. People who are on the mend after a strain, sprain or hospital stay can work their way back to wellness through water exercise. The buoyancy of water minimizes the impact exercise has on the body and is a safe and effective solution for a number of ailments.
Water therapy is typically done in three parts: the warm up, stretching or toning and the cool down. Therapists enter the pool alongside patients and aid in assistive movements as they instruct the proper techniques. The warm up consists of a combination of various cardiovascular exercises. Depending on the type of session, warm ups may include swimming laps. Water strength exercises are ideal for targeting certain areas of the body, such as the hips, quadriceps, back, arms, shoulders or abs. Warm ups should take only a few minutes before moving onto the stretching or toning part of the session.
Water has been proven effective as a treatment for pain. Ice packs constrict blood vessels, thus decreasing swelling and pain from everything from a sports injury to bad headache. Hot tubs are often used to facilitate relaxation, reduce pain from muscle soreness and can be used for active persons of all physical levels and ages. Water therapy speeds up the healing process and allows the injured person to maintain his/her fitness levels without having to try and put their full weight on an injured leg, foot or other part of the body. Taking the time to relax in a heated bath at home is also beneficial.
Studies have shown that pain and muscle spasms in an injured area are reduced when the temperature of the water reaches 90 to 95 degrees. When pain and swelling is reduced, the body is able to relax and heal more quickly. Hot tubs set to this temperature are ideal for enhancing range of motion and promoting pain relief. Pools and other bodies of water accommodate both shorter and taller patients and provide sufficient room for the proper execution of exercises.
Water rehabilitation can range from an affordable $50 to the higher-priced $250 for a 45-minute therapy session. Cost will depend on several factors, including the type of session options selected and whether the session is a private or group lesson. In some cases, an insurance company may pay for part or all of the cost related to the water rehabilitation sessions. It’s important to speak with the insurance provider before starting therapy to ensure the cost is covered. Thankfully, aquatic therapy first appeared as a CPT code in 1995, increasing the chance it will be at least partially taken care of by a patient’s particular insurance company.
Water rehabilitation can be used to improve overall fitness and speed up healing of various conditions and injuries, especially for persons anxious to get back to their workouts or the playing field. Patients in need of water rehabilitation should consult their doctor to find treatment options at a local hospital, long-term health facility or gym.