Aquatic therapy, often referred to as pool therapy, can be used with almost any type of injury, including sprains/strains, burns, and even traumatic brain injuries. Initial post-surgical rehabilitation for knees, backs, and shoulders may benefit from aquatic interventions.
How does aquatics work?
The combination of heat, pressure and buoyancy create an atmosphere that aids and promotes the therapeutic process. Often after an injury, the level of tolerance an injured person has for land-based therapy is limited because of physical stressors to the injured area, precautions/restrictions ordered by the physician, or a person's fear of re-injury. The aquatic environment allows for increased levels of activity while reducing the physical stress on the injury site. This increased activity level allows for earlier intervention and frequently a reduction in the length of stay in therapy.
Is aquatic therapy "soft" therapy?
A common misconception is that the aquatic therapy is "soft" or passive therapy. Many believe it to be only appropriate for those who have arthritis or need to relax. When executed correctly, aquatic therapy is a rigorous treatment option offers an optimal, but safe exercise option.
How does aquatics compare to land-based therapy costs?
Overall, aquatic therapy, when compared on a per-unit basis, is typically 10-15% higher than land-based therapies. However, the benefits frequently more than offset this cost difference.
First, the aquatic therapy offers the same benefits as modalities that are often used in clinics after a land-based exercise session to reduce the edema, and discomfort caused by the session itself. These modalities are charged in addition to the exercise costs, increasing the cost of the therapy session. These are rarely used after an aquatic session and the charge per session is therefore reduced. Second, a general rule is the quicker an injured person is able to be active and receive therapeutic interventions, the quicker the injured person can be rehabilitated.
The overall cost savings will offset the small increases in per unit or per session charges.