Swimex Professional Blog

Aquatic therapy that includes a resistance pool is a superior way to exercise, rehabilitate, and recover.  The water current is ideal for added resistance and support. But not all water currents are the same. Here are the advantages and disadvantages for three primary water current systems available in today’s marketplace.

Paddlewheel Aquatic Therapy Pools

How it works: The paddlewheel, positioned at the back of the pool, pulls in pool water, propels the water through tunnels under the pool, then pushes it out through a front grille. This continuous loop of flowing water spans the entire width of the pool, creating a “wall of water” similar to a river current.
hydrotherapy pool

Key Advantages:

Designed by MIT engineers, this powerful system generates a smooth, wide, and deep adjustable water flow that can challenge the strongest athlete or is gentle enough for patients in the acute injury treatment phase.  With this current, it’s possible to successfully workout, exercise and swim against the current in any area of the pool.  In addition, the water current’s width and consistency makes allows for accurately measuring  performance and outcomes from one session to the next.

  • Circulates 25,000 gallons of water per minute (no other resistance pool comes close to this performance)
  • Water current is deep, smooth, even, and powerful
  • Current spans the entire pool width (unlike directional jets that push out a centralized, turbulent stream)
  • Achieve full body exercises, run at top speeds, and competitively swim against the paddlewheel current
  • 99 programmable speeds challenge the most competitive athlete or will treat a frail patient in acute recovery
  • Access the current in all areas of the pool
  • Accurately monitor and measure progress from one pool session to the next with the current’s consistency and programmable water flow
  • Safely target muscles and joints without jarring or turbulence typically found in a jet system
  • Water current’s strength and width acts as a “second pair of hands” to support patients during therapy
  • Dependable current makes it easy to realize the benefits of working out in water
  • This industry exclusive water system is the most technologically advanced resistance current on the market
  • Driven by an industrial electric gear motor with variable speed control
  • Minimal yearly maintenance keeps it running at peak performance levels for years


  • Can be more expensive than other systems
  • Is exclusively available in a SwimEx pool

Propeller Resistance Pools

How it works: Located in the front of the pool, the propeller pushes a centralized stream of water into the pool area.

hydrotherapyKey Advantages:

  • Ideal for individuals looking for an effective water current pool at an entry level price
  • Ability to achieve hydrotherapy exercises, run, and swim.  Look for a strong propeller system capable of circulating 5,000 gallons of water per minute.
  • Some systems offer adjustable water current speeds for frail patient protocols or to achieve fitness exercises and swimming
  • Depending upon the propeller system, you may be able to program the current to monitor and measure progress from one pool session to the next
  • Smoother than jets, this system is able to target muscles and joints with limited jarring or excessive water turbulence
  • For some propeller models, minimal yearly maintenance keeps it running at peak performance levels. (it’s important to do your homework and choose the most effective propeller pool)


  • Centralized water flow
  • Less smooth current compared to the paddlewheel flow
  • Most often comes pre-installed with an existing swim spa
  • Not as strong, wide or even as the paddlewheel current

Jet Driven Pools

How it works: This is a pump driven system that creates a water flow by pushing water through nozzles at the front of the pool.

Key Advantages:

  • Most inexpensive of the three options
  • Can provide enough current for leisure swimming depending upon the number of jets
  • Creates a “white water” effect for fun activities
  • Can be installed in new and existing pools


  • Most turbulent flow of the three water flow options
  • Will only support a leisure swim experience (Will not support a serious swimmer or competitive athlete)
  • Cannot challenge a competitive athlete looking exercise against the current
  • Turbulent “white water” flow makes it hard to see and breath while swimming
  • Narrow flow prohibits full body workouts
  • Swimming can only be achieved by remaining directly in front of the jets
  • Usually not adjustable

Now that you know the different water current systems, it’s time to plan your ideal hydrotherapy space. Download our free guide that includes tools and tips to help you get started.

aquatic therapy design

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