Aquatic therapy is awesome!
Aquatic therapy is such a valuable assets for a speedy optimal recovery in many orthopedic and systemic conditions. If you are fortunate enough to have a home pool, or a friend with a pool, or a Gurneys membership then think about getting into the pool as an adjunct to your weight loss program, your physical therapy routine, or for your overall general wellness. Some day in the, hopefully, near future this Montauk community will have access to a warm therapy pool in the playhouse. And aquatic therapy will be able to be performed year round.
Now aquatic therapy does not mean swimming. There are many physical activities to do in any body of water that do not require you to be an avid swimmer. There are a few safety precautions to remember anytime you think about beginning an aquatic therapy program. You must make sure that you do not have any open wounds on your body. This means that if you have a fresh total knee replacement you cannot enter the pool if you have surgical glue, sutures, or a brown scab still present. If you suffer from any type of dry skin conditions the chorine in most public pools will add to further dryness of your skin causing the skin condition to worsen. It is also important to make sure you have taken all of your regular medicines prior to entering the pool especially blood pressure pills. Your bodies’ blood pressure will fluctuate slightly upon entering the water and depending on the temperature of the water you want to control any spikes your body may have by having your medication at the right level in your blood stream. Also it is important to never swim alone. Make sure there is a life guard on duty or someone else near you in the backyard while you perform your home exercise program.
It is important to have realistic goals when beginning an aquatic therapy program. Your body will typically move more easily in the water however that does not mean it will move more easily on land. There is not a functional correlation. So if you want to move more easily on land you will also have to practice your activity on land, hopefully under the skilled supervision of a physical therapist or a personal trainer.
To begin exercising in the pool you do not need any special equipment. No paddles, fins or googles etc are required. Just focus, commitment and a bathing suit. The best and first aquatic therapy exercise series to perform would be to walk back and forth in the pool for at least 3 minutes. Then try changing the style of walk such as walking sideways, walking on your toes, walking backwards. Never going into the deep end of the pool and continuously moving to keep your heart rate elevated. As this walking program becomes easier you can increase the distance you walk, and the speed you walk, and then even think about adding ankle weights onto your legs for increased resistance and strength gain benefit.
If you are lucky enough to own a pool or brave enough to hop into the ocean don’t be afraid to try aquatic therapy. It can help speed up your recovery post-surgery. It can help improve your weight loss, as well as ease your pain from arthritic type conditions. If I can be of further guidance with regards to an aquatic therapy program feel free to stop into EHPT for advice. And enjoy your pool!
As Always Yours In Healing,
Dr. Rachel Lys DPT