Aquatic therapy continues to grow in popularity as a safe complement or alternative to traditional land-based therapy that is suitable for children and adults of all ages and fitness levels. The soothing properties of water appeal to those in search of treatment that can heal the body while improving rehabilitation timeframes, fitness levels or reducing overall stress levels.
WHAT IS AQUATIC THERAPY?
Aquatic therapy is physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other aquatic environment under the supervision of a trained healthcare professional. Aquatic therapy is also known as water therapy, aquatic rehabilitation, aqua therapy, pool therapy, therapeutic aquatic exercise or hydrotherapy.
Common goals of aqua therapy programs include:
- Improving flexibility
- Improving balance and coordination
- Building muscle strength and endurance
- Enhancing aerobic capacity
- Assisting with gait and locomotion
- Reducing stress and promoting relaxation
Aquatic therapy is different from aquatic exercise or aquatic fitness because it is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that requires the involvement of a trained professional and is covered by many insurance providers due to the personalized nature of the treatment. Aquatic exercise does not need to be supervised by a trained professional. It is also not covered by insurance, and it often takes place in a group setting that includes multiple people with different levels of physical fitness.
Aquatic therapy should not be confused with adaptive aquatics, either. Adaptive aquatics is the process of teaching people with disabilities how to swim safely in the water. Aquatic therapy does not focus on teaching clients how to swim.