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Home / Blog / Water Therapy: How Swimming Can Be a Great Choice in Physical Therapy
Author: Collin Land

Swimming is a popular from of exercise among people of all ages and levels of fitness. Swimming is both a cardiovascular workout and a resistance exercise. It’s comparable to lifting weights but without stressing your bones and joints.

But swimming isn’t only a way to burn calories or build lean muscles. People suffering from conditions like physical injuries, arthritis, low back pain or traumatic brain injuries can find much relief from their injury by engaging in aquatic therapy, also known as hydrotherapy.

What Is Aquatic Physical Therapy?

Aquatic physical therapy takes place in the pool as an alternative to land-based therapy. You don’t have to know how to swim to participate in this form of therapy, as pools for hydrotherapy are typically quite shallow. Water therapy is done under the supervision of a skilled physical therapist, physiotherapist or a physiotherapist’s assistant. Exercises are tailored to your symptoms and overall level of strength and mobility.

Hydrotherapy is generally not strenuous and instead focuses on slow movements.

The Science Behind Aquatic Physical Therapy and Swimming

Water is inherently good for your body. While drinking water throughout the day helps you stay hydrated and flushes out toxins from the body, swimming and hydrotherapy can build strength, promote healing and help you maintain good physical and mental health.

The therapeutic value of water lies in its unique properties: buoyancy, viscosity, temperature and hydrostatic pressure.

Buoyancy

The buoyancy of water has the power to push your body up to the surface instead of sinking. Apart from keeping you afloat, your body weighs less when submerged in water, thus exercising in water significantly reduces the amount of stress placed on your joints, making it a good alternative for injured or obese people.

Viscosity

Viscosity refers to the water’s internal friction which in turn produces a light resistance. This resistance helps build muscle strength without having to lift weights or engage in other forms of land-based exercise, which may put pressure on your joints.

Temperature

Different water temperatures have different effects on the body. Warm water helps to reduce pain and relax the muscles, while cold water reduces inflammation, alleviates sore muscles and strengthens the immune system.

Hydrostatic Pressure

This is pressure that water exerts when it’s in a confined space, such as a pool. Hydrostatic pressure helps to decrease joint and soft tissue swelling, which are common symptoms of injuries and arthritis.

What Are Aquatic Physical Therapy and Swimming Used For?

A variety of symptoms and conditions can be treated with aquatic therapy, including:

  • Chronic pain due to conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, low back pain and more
  • Neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injuries, muscle spasms, stroke and cerebral palsy
  • Pain and decreased mobility from injuries
  • Cardiovascular conditions, including rehabilitation after heart failure or respiratory disease
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation to speed up healing, increase joint movement and improve muscle strength
  • Obesity
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and anxiety (swimming releases endorphins which make us feel good)

What Are the Health Benefits of Swimming?

Many people turn to water therapy only after they’ve sustained injuries or suffer from chronic pain. But the truth is you don’t have to wait for your health to deteriorate to reap the many health benefits of swimming. If you’re looking for a fun, comprehensive workout, swimming may be the right option for you. Here is why swimming is considered one of the best forms of physical activity:

  • A total body workout that tones muscles, burns calories and increases metabolism
  • Gentle on joints, allowing it to be done everyday
  • Increases your cardiovascular health
  • Great for people of all ages, including babies and the elderly
  • A safe workout for pregnant women (but always consult your doctor first)
  • Allows you to stay fit and can help prevent injuries

Ease Your Physical injury with Physical Rehabilitation in Georgia

Georgia residents suffering from lingering pain and injuries should consider physical rehabilitation from Optimum Health Rehab. We provide a diverse array of services including hot and cold therapies, therapeutic exercises and regenerative medicine therapies. Our team will analyze your symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan to help you overcome your limitations or recover from your injuries.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 877-704-1761.

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