Hydrotherapy Basics and Benefits

What is Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy is a method that employs water to maintain health and fitness. It is used for rehabilitation, recovery, training and conditioning.

Why Hydrotherapy Works

Hydrotherapy uses the physical properties of water to achieve successful outcomes.


Creates a weightless environment that alleviates pressure on joints, supports weak muscles and improves balance deficits


Creates resistance

Hydrostatic pressure:

Creates pressure or weight against a body part to help decrease pain and edema. Learn more about hydrostatic pressure and how it help aid recovery and rehabilitation.


Read more about basic properties of water.

When to Use Hydrotherapy

Achieve success with these
hydrotherapy tools and tips.

1. Train and condition athletes

2. Treat common health conditions:

  • Arthritis – both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Back Pain
  • Musculoskeletal conditions – such rotator cuff repair, ankle sprains, etc.
  • Following surgery for conditions such as hip replacements, knee replacements, ACL reconstruction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neurological conditions such as Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s
  • Following strokes or head injuries
  • Obesity

3. Post-surgery or following an injury

4. Veterinary Rehabilitation

Hydrotherapy Pools


Resistance Pools

Warm water pools with a water current feature that creates more resistance for additional support, increases intensity, and maximizes versatility. These specific pools typically vary in depth and offer different performance zones for walking, running, swimming, full body exercises, and deep water treatments. Some are large enough to offer group classes and accommodate multiple users in the same therapy session.  Water currents are also very functional in a home pool or swim spa. Get the versatility of a traditional pool with more functional capabilities but in a smaller body of water.

large plunge tank

Plunge Pools

Hot or cold water pools designed for maximum rehabilitation or recovery. Cold plunge pools control lactic acid build up to minimize muscle inflammation, pain, and soreness during post workout recovery.
Hot plunge pools used before working out help to increase blood flow, flexibility and muscle relaxation. These characteristics help decrease muscle strain, promote rehabilitation of injury, and lead to a more productive exercise session.

Hydrotherapy Exercises

From simply floating in warm water for relaxation to intense exercise sessions, hydrotherapy protocols will depend on the required treatment protocol or individual exercise regimen for each desired outcome.  In most instances, any land exercise can be modified for the water. As an added benefit, when exercises are performed in hydrotherapy pools with a programmable water current, sessions can progress in intensity and outcomes can be accurately monitored and measured. Hydrotherapy pools can help athletes train and condition – even during recovery. They can help manage common health conditions.
The exercises, treatments, and videos available make it easy for anyone to capture the power of water.


Hydrotherapy Research

In one study, aquatic immersion was reported to produce a significant number of physiological changes in blood pressure, heart rate variability (HRV), autonomic nervous system (ANS), and core temperature in young healthy subjects. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of water immersion in younger and older populations, determining whether there are age related differences for ANS regulation measures in cool, neutral, and warm water. Vitals and ANS measures were collected from two samples representing different age-groups in the general population. It was found that water immersion produced a significant number of important physiologic responses such as decreased blood pressure and increased SVB during the warm water cycle. These changes are important components of ANS bioregulation and clearly seem to be influenced by water temperature during immersion. There was a statistically significant relationship between ANS activity manifested by heart rate variability and water temperatures. This study that was performed by Kasee Hildenbrand, Bruce E. Becker, Rebekah Whitcomb, and James P. Sanders

Pool temperature makes a difference in how you feel, how your clients feel and what type of therapeutic exercise you’ll use. Remember this concept:
There are two ways to increase body heat: Internally and externally. If your water is warm (94 – 98º) your program should be passive (because you’re heating externally) and if you water is moderate (86 – 90º) your program can be more active (to create heat internally). This works unless you’re working with clients who have thermoregulatory problems. Learn more about the therapeutic properties of warm water therapy.



Who Will Benefit

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