April 07, 2021 6 min read

A 2018 research study  found that 1 in 3 Australians suffer from arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions, such as back pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. 

Water Therapy utilises the properties of the water to promote healing and recovery and accelerates the recovery and restoration process making it one of the most beneficial options for musculoskeletal conditions. Achieving this involves meeting smaller goals such as decreasing pain symptoms and improving strength, confidence and flexibility. 

WHAT IS WATER THERAPY OR HYDROTHERAPY?

Water therapy, sometimes referred to as Hydrotherapy, is a complementary therapy that uses water for health purposes. Hydrotherapy is traditionally a type of physical therapy done in warm water (heated to 31-35 degrees) and involves the use of water for reducing pain, improving range of motion as well as strengthening and improving function. Water Therapy has been used to describe therapy for various types of conditions in any type of water, hot or cold, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

Water Therapy has a wide range of health benefits and is used to target and treat a variety of conditions. The use of gentle, controlled movements allows people to progress their range of movement steadily. It's also a safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment.  

Hydrotherapy uses water to treat a variety of conditions, such as arthritis, rheumatic complaints, injury or surgical recovery, and other ailments. There are a range of techniques and equipment that can aid and speed up the rate of recovery. One excellent example using equipment for Hydrotherapy is Water cycling on an AquaBike. Water Therapy is often combined with exercise for therapeutic effects. Slow, rhythmic movements combined with rotary-type motions in water have been proven to achieve a range of therapeutic benefits in increased mobility, increased flexibility, reduced inflammation, and safe muscle strengthening.

HOW DOES WATER THERAPY WORK?

The water helps reduce the effect of gravity on your body. When you stand in waist-deep water, you are only supporting 50% of your body weight. Once you move on neck-deep water, 90% of your body weight becomes supported. Basically, you can often perform exercises in the water that you cannot do on land due to either weakness or pain. It's a good way to stretch your lower back, hips, knees, and ankles by allowing them to move freely. This helps with any stiffness or limited movement one may have. It also helps reduce the compressive load if you have lower back or knee problems or post-surgical recovery. 

Water also provides resistance. You can create this resistance by forcing purpose made aquatic equipment into the water or using your movement through the water to create such resistance. This work muscles in different ways than they usually work on land and can greatly improve their strength. 

Hydrotherapy is usually performed in warm water. This has the benefit of relieving pain and improving flexibility. Similar as using a heat pack at home to help with pain and stiffness, the benefit of Hydrotherapy is that you experience the warmth while exercising to sooth and relax the muscles providing greater stretch.

Finally, water creates hydrostatic pressure on the body. The deeper you go in the water, the higher the pressure will be. This pressure is what is responsible for scuba divers to get 'the bends' if they surface too fast from a deep dive. However, even in 1-2 meters of water, hydrostatic pressure exists. Hydrostatic pressure helps circulation by helping the lymphatic system return fluid from the tissues back into the bloodstream it can be circulated around the body again. This is the process that helps remove the swelling in your body. During Hydrotherapy, the pressure of the water assists in reducing the swelling in those parts of the body submerged underwater. 

Hydrotherapy has many benefits and is often used to treat a wide range of conditions. It is also helpful following surgeries such as after joint replacements and trauma.

HISTORY OF HYDROTHERAPY 

Water has a long history of being utilised to heal and aid recovery. Hydrotherapy was used for health benefits as far as ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times when Egyptian royalty bathed in oils and Romans Baths were frequently visited by the citizens of that period. There are also historical evidence where such therapy has been used in China and Japan where hot springs were frequently used for people to bathe.

English physicians in the 18th century began to popularize the use of Hydrotherapy once again. Hot and cold baths were used to purify the body for alcoholism, mental conditions, and many other targeted illnesses. 

During the Victorian era where modern indoor plumbing was discovered, people were able to have a more accessible and reap the benefits of Hydrotherapy in their own homes.

Sebastian Kneipp (1821-1897) re-wrote the history of Hydrotherapy when he discovered a more systematic and controlled application of Hydrotherapy. He was also able to develop a revolutionary rehabilitation method to assist medical treatment. During that time, this style of therapy was only being administered by doctors, and Hydrotherapy was first officially used in 1929 as a medical tool by Vincent Priessnitz.

What began as a method of relaxation to the ancient Egyptians has developed with research and a range of equipment that leverages and enhances waters' natural powers for healing. Today's Hydrotherapy is scientifically proven to be beneficial, and studies have shown that it produces a variety of effects on various systems of the body.

HOW DOES WATER THERAPY HELP?

Water can help manage and improve conditions, symptoms, and injuries. Water Therapy has demonstrated strong results in improving and elevating the symptoms of conditions such as:

  • Autism
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Balance disorders
  • Bursitis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hip Pain
  • Idiopathic Joint Pain
  • Joint Reconstruction Recovery
  • Joint Replacement Recovery
  • Knee Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Lipedema
  • Lymphedema
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Stress
  • Stroke
  • Tendonitis
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Weight Management

EQUIPMENT FOR WATER THERAPY


Hydrotherapy techniques and equipment have been developed in recent times to better leverage the water's properties and enhance rehabilitation effectiveness and speed of recovery. The equipment required varies by condition, stage of the illness, and goals. We recommend keeping a range of equipment options on hand that can be leveraged for individual treatment plans when required. 

These innovations include:

AQUABIKE 

An Aqua Bike is a bicycle specially made for cycling underwater in an Aquatic environment called a Hydrorider.

An AquaBike can help:

  • improves overall motor function 
  • improve aerobic capacity
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases cardiovascular endurance
  • improves mood
  • improve cognitive function
  • Improve circulation and reduce fluid retention
  • improve coordination, balance, and posture
  • increase joy and social connections
  • burn energy, relax the mind and improve sleep

The AquaBike is specifically beneficial for knee pain, knee joint replacements, weight management, osteoarthritis, neuro conditions like MS & Parkinsons, inflammation conditions or autoimmune diseases and circulation, blood flow, and fluid retention challenges.

UNDERWATER TREADMILL

An Underwater treadmill is a treadmill specially made for walking or running underwater in an aquatic environment.  

An underwater Treadmill can be helpful in water therapy as it:

  • decreases both joint & muscle pain
  • improves flexibility
  • improves the quality of your sleep 
  • enhance both strength and lean muscle
  • improve balance, function, and mobility 
  • lower joint stress caused by land exercises 

The Underwater Treadmill is specifically beneficial for runners injuries, weight management, stroke, tendonitis, traumatic brain injury, and in aiding the elderly with walking challenges. 

UNDERWATER TRAMPOLINE

Underwater trampoline or aqua trampoline is a small trampoline that is used underwater. We recommend the Hydrorider Aquajump, as its diamond shape gives more stability and prevents tipping.

An Underwater Trampoline is helpful in water therapy as it: 

  • Increase cardio capacity
  • Strengthens lower back, hips, ankles, and knees
  • Boost coordination and agility
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Restores joint flexibility 

An Underwater Trampoline is specifically beneficial for Autism and improving motor control in a fun way for children.

WATER RESISTANCE BANDS

A resistance band is an elastisised band that is used for strength training. They are also commonly used in physical therapy, specifically by convalescents of muscular injuries, including cardiac rehab patients, to allow slow rebuilding of strength. A RiderBand is a great resistance band for underwater workouts.

A RiderBand is helpful in water therapy as it: 

  • reduces rigidity
  • improves range of motion
  • strengthens muscles
  • targets dormant muscles
  • improves flexibility
  • improves coordination, balance, and posture
  • reduces constipation when combined with deep water core exercises

The Riderband is specifically beneficial for improving strength for muscular conditions without the risk of heavyweights.

FLOATING FITMAT

A floating fitmat is an exercise mat that can be used for the pool. A fitness mat enables you to do rehabilitation exercises on the pool's surface, such as stretching and yoga. With a floating FitMat and the unstable water, you can intensify the level of these exercises as part of your floating fitness routine.

The Hydrorider FOW (Fitness On Water) Fitness mat is helpful in water therapy as it: 

  • strengthens core muscles
  • targets dormant muscles
  • improves focus and coordination
  • improves balance and posture

A floating fitmat is specifically beneficial for balance and coordination conditions such as MS and Parkinson's.

GET STARTED

Would you like to speed up the recovery of an illness or injury or perhaps better manage their symptoms, improving your quality of life? Ready to see how water therapy can help you? Great! But like starting any new therapy, make sure you check with your doctor and seek a water therapy expert. This is important if you're living with a chronic medical condition or are recovering from surgery. To find out more, book an appointment.



Also in Blog

Water Exercises to Strengthen Knees
Water Exercises to Strengthen Knees

August 06, 2021 7 min read

Experiencing knee pain? Here are some of the most effective exercises to strengthen the knees and prevent knee injuries.



Best Exercises Knee Osteoarthritis
Best Exercises Knee Osteoarthritis

July 03, 2021 5 min read

For those with osteoarthritis of the knee, regular exercise may be too painful and cause further joint deterioration. Gravity puts pressure on the joints. Water cycling relieves that pressure.
How to stay healthy this winter
How to stay healthy this winter

June 19, 2021 4 min read

Do the winter blues have you curled up at home feeling unmotivated? The pool is the best place to stay healthy and work out during winter. 

Get Started
Enquire today to get started