Posted June 29, 2012
By Becky Lerner
Summer has officially taken over! With temperatures breaking 100, the thought of doing squats and lunges and planks and stretching just seems all-the-more intense… on land. So The Comprehensive Group took a few moments to talk with one of our very own PTAs currently getting certified in aquatic therapy to learn the benefits and ideas that leave all of us buoying.
“I’ve seen a lot of benefits with many different people—not just doing therapy, doing fitness as well. I grew up with a pool so I loved to do exercises in it,” says Mounts. “Many of my friends who have had injuries have gone into aquatic therapy and have healed much faster because of the buoyancy of the water.”
Working in the water (in a pool with a set temperature of 90 degrees) provides resistance for the patient in a low impact, soothing way; exercises can be gentle but still provide benefits.
An individual in water chest-deep feels the impact of only about 40% of one’s actual body weight which makes aquatic therapy ideal for orthopedic patients, seniors, those with proprioception or balance issues, and arthritis sufferers. But that lighter, more manageable feeling doesn’t mean that these exercises are going to be a breeze.
Goals for aquatic therapy are similar to most physical therapy: improving the active range of motion, decrease pain, increase mobility during exercise and during normal daily activities, decrease swelling, and improve quality of life.
Similar to most therapy forms, full body workouts—lengthening and strengthening muscles surrounding the ailing area—are absolutely necessary to reap lasting benefits; and this goes for aquatic therapy, too. According to Mounts, exercises and intensity vary depending on the patient and the goals, but core stability—strengthening the muscles in and around the trunk/torso area—is critical.
Aquatic therapy can benefit most, but is not ideal for those with communicable diseases, incontinence, or any open wounds.
If you’re interested in being “aquatically certified,” the National Aquatic Therapy Conference is coming to Chicago November 15-18, 2012.