Aquatic therapy is the use of an aquatic environment to perform exercises, manual therapy, sensory integration, and gait training. Aquatic therapy utilizes the properties of water to provide a safe, functional, and challenging atmosphere to restore normal movement. Makovicka Physical Therapy now has two locations offering Aquatic Therapy: Pacific Springs at 1021 South 178th Street and the new Bellevue location at 555 Cornhusker Drive. The benefits of aquatic therapy include, but are not limited to:
Buoyancy: Buoyancy is the property of water that reduces the force of gravity on the body. The body can be relieved of gravity by up to 80% at chest-high level. This allows a person to practice walking without the stress of a land setting. Buoyancy can also be used to decrease the compression of gravity on the spine. Finally, buoyancy can be used to improve range of motion for any body part by reducing the force gravity exerts.
Hydrostatic Pressure: Hydrostatic pressure is the force that water applies to the body. It can aid in the reduction of edema, improve circulation, and decrease blood pressure. This pressure can also be utilized for resistance to improve breathing capacity, allowing the chest muscles to expand more on land.
Temperature: At Makovicka Physical Therapy we utilize an aquatic temperature of 92-95 degrees. This allows the tissues to relax and improve flexibility. It also provides a more comfortable experience for the patient to focus on their movement.
By employing these characteristics physical therapists are able to create a challenging, yet safe setting for patients to begin, progress, or finalize their rehabilitation. The versatility of aquatic environment has been shown to benefit patients who suffer from:
- ACL reconstruction
- Rotator cuff injury
- Adhesive capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
- Gait dysfunction
- Various foot injuries, including plantar fasciitis, post-surgical conditions, andankle sprains
- Chronic and acute low back pain
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Dan McCutchen, PT, DPT, OCS