HYDROTHERAPY: Water As A Workout!
And you don’t need to be able to swim!
Research is consistently showing hydrotherapy, or aquatic exercise, to be as effective as land-based exercise in reducing pain and improving function . It’s no wonder that hydrotherapy has been used as a treatment modality for hundreds of years!
- It’s low impact
Great for managing rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, those who have difficulties exercising on land due to impact or pain .
Relaxes muscles and relives joint stiffness .
- Assists with chronic conditions
Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia .
- Preparation for or rehabilitation following joint replacement surgery
- Facilitating recovery from certain strokes and brain injuries
But what really makes hydrotherapy so effective?
THE AMAZING PROPERTIES OF WATER
Buoyancy – The deeper you are submerged in water, the less you weigh. Exercising in water lessens the effects of impact exercise and relieves the joints of much of your bodyweight  . Hence, one can tolerate a variety of exercise with better endurance, technique and reduced or no pain.
Heat – Hydrotherapy pools measure around 34°C in temperature, much warmer than your average lap pool! Heat increases circulation through the body, which can relieve muscle tightness and relieve stiffness in joints . The heat can even reduce cortisol/stress levels in our body .
Density – Water has a higher density than air so gravity does not apply in the pool as on land. As a result the body must work harder to move . Sometimes, this can mean you get more of a workout walking in water than on land!
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS 
- Hypertension or hypotension (high or low blood pressure)
- Open wounds or unhealed stitches
- Urinary incontinence
- Infectious conditions
- Chlorine allergies
- Specific medications
- Fear of water
Hydrotherapy is a great workout for the whole body as well as a place for healing, movement and pain relief. To see if hydrotherapy might be for you, we recommend you consult your healthcare practitioner.
 Arthritis Australia (2017). Water Exercise. Retrieved from: https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/managing-arthritis/living-with-arthritis/physical-activity-and-exercise/water-exercise/
 Australian Physiotherapy Association. (2015). Australian guidelines for aquatic physiotherapists working in and/or managing hydrotherapy pools (2nd Ed). Retrieved from: https://australian.physio/sites/default/files/tools/Aquatic_Physiotherapy_Guidelines.pdf
 Barker, A., Talevski, J., Morello, R., Brand, C., Rahmann, A., & Urquhart, D. (2014). Effectiveness of Aquatic Exercise for Musculoskeletal Conditions: A Meta-Analysis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95(9), 1776-1786.
 Koury, J. M. (1996). Aquatic therapy programming: Guidelines for orthopedic rehabilitation. United stats of America: Human Kinetics.
 Michlovitz, S., Bellew, J. W. & Nolan, T. (2012). Modalities for therapeutic intervention (5th ed., Contemporary perspectives in rehabilitation (Series)). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
 Mooventhan, A. & Nivethitha, L. (2014). Scientific evidence-based effects of hydrotherapy on various systems of the body. 6(5). 199-209. doi: 10.4103/1947-2714.132935
 Waller, B., Ogonowska-Slodownik, A., Vitor, M., Lambeck, J., Daly, D., Kujala, U., & Heinonen, A. (2014). Effect of therapeutic aquatic exercise on symptoms and function associated with lower limb osteoarthritis: Systematic review with meta-analysis. Physical Therapy, 94(10), 1383-13895.