Have you ever wondered what Hydrotherapy is or what makes it so special? Hydrotherapy differs from swimming as it involves performing exercises in a heated pool and can be used for many things such as treating pain related issues or strength building. Hydrotherapy is often recommended for:
- improving mobility
- pre and post-surgery, and
- performing exercises that cannot be done on land (due to pain or disability)
Different equipment including ramps, rails, hoists, water wheelchairs, and special flotation devices can be used to ensure the pool is safe and accessible to everyone.
There are many benefits of hydrotherapy, we’ve put together a list of five of these benefits which include:
1. Reducing pain
Hydrotherapy can be useful in treating and managing many different types of pain. The warmth of the water, which is generally set between 33–36°C, can help reduce muscle tone and spasticity. This, in turn, helps manage pain. Increased buoyancy also reduces the mechanical stress and loading on joints, which improves both ease of movement and pain-free movement. Increased hydrostatic pressure and temperature enhances circulation, flexibility, and decreases oedema (fluid build-up).
2. Improving strength, function, and fitness
A therapy pool is an ideal and safe environment for anyone to exercise in and is suitable for people of all abilities. Whether you’re an athlete, recovering from an accident or have a disability, hydrotherapy can assist with improving muscle strength, function, mobility, balance, coordination and cardiovascular fitness. The great thing about using hydrotherapy to improve your strength, function and fitness is that exercises can also be customised to help you achieve your individual goals.
3. Improving sleep and reducing fatigue
Many of us lead a sedentary lifestyle which is a known cause for fatigue and poor sleep quality, therefore it’s important to incorporate physical activity into our daily routine. Hydrotherapy is a low impact option that can help individuals in being more physically active. Incorporating hydrotherapy into your physical activity can help boosts energy levels, and when done regularly, physical activity can improve sleep and reduce fatigue.
4. Improving psychological health
Hydrotherapy can also positively affect people’s psychological health. Hydrotherapy can give people a sense of ability rather than disability by increasing their independence and facilitating social inclusion. It can also enhance a sense of well-being by improving self-confidence in people’s physical abilities, improving mood as well as changing perceptions of exercise.
5. Calming and relaxing movements
Hydrotherapy can also be focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation. The warmth of the water can help to provide a calming environment that assists with muscle relaxation. Physiotherapy programs focussed on tight muscles and joints can be difficult to tolerate on land, however, in the water, these stretches are much more comfortable and relaxing.
Overall, Hydrotherapy has assisted many people to improve not only the five benefits listed above, but it’s also gone on to help people improve their quality of life.