Aquatic Therapy is a powerful tool for rehabilitation of disabled individuals seeking functional therapy.
Your disabled client or loved one has proceeded through the continuum of care. But now you seek the best quality of life for them and that means improving their physical ability. At Functional Therapy Unlimited, we are here to empower them to move more easily, reach farther, and perform daily activities with great ease. In short, enable them to be more independent.
This is where Functional Therapy comes in — to provide improvement in the lives of the disabled. One of the components of Functional Therapy garnering great praise and interest from the medical community is known as aquatic therapy.
First, let’s define Functional Therapy. Functional Therapy is not “physical therapy” or “fitness training.” Fitness training focuses on improving the overall health of the able-bodied individual. And physical therapy is the stage in the continuum of care that comes prior to Functional Therapy. Functional Therapy (note the word therapy) focuses on improvement, restoration, prevention of further dysfunction, as well as maintenance of the abilities of individuals with adaptive needs (i.e. disabled persons). It can occur weeks, months, or years after physical therapy ends.
Aquatic Therapy, also known as aqua therapy or water therapy, is an ideal treatment for some disabled individuals, as the therapy uses water’s natural characteristics — providing a powerful workout while cushioning the body against excess strain. It fosters a safer exercise environment — thus making clients feel more at ease during exercises they could not normally attempt during a land therapy session.
The buoyancy of water diminishes the impact of physical movement on the joints, causing less stress on the body overall. In addition, the surrounding water creates hydrostatic pressure, helping blood circulate throughout the body. Lastly, the water creates resistance which helps increase muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance.
Functional exercise therapy does not share water therapy’s advantages of working within a liquid environment. However, aquatic therapy is not ideal for every individual — we work with clients to develop a customized therapy program to ensure they are completely comfortable in the water.
Of note, more and more physicians are now recommending aquatic therapy for post-surgery and post-injury recovery as it enables an increased rate of recovery while mitigating strain on injured areas. In addition, physicians note it reduces prolonged therapy by allowing clients a greater range of motion without putting additional pressure on joints and re-injuring themselves. All-in-all, physicians, therapists and clients see aqua therapy as a win-win-win.
Despite common misconceptions, aquatic therapy is not hydrotherapy, aqua aerobics, or swimming laps in the pool. It is a therapeutic, hands-on, and rigorous activity often conducted as warm water therapy, although some conditions necessitate cooler water conditions. The warm pool warms muscles, improves blood circulation, and increases range of motion and flexibility.
IMPORTANT: Aquatic therapy must be conducted by an individual who is specially certified to work in a water environment. Functional Therapy Unlimited only uses experts with aquatic therapy certification.
Please note that Functional Therapy Unlimited is a mobile therapy service and works in many facilities that are close to our clients. Travel is minimized to make attending the therapy as easy as possible for the client.
If you have any questions about how aquatic therapy can help your loved one or client, or wish to schedule a consultation, please call us at (248) 792-3633.