Hydrotherapy is a tool that can revolutionize how athletes train, condition, recover, and rehabilitate. But, what is aquatic therapy and what are its benefits? Here are the top reasons why hydrotherapy is as an effective treatment tool that delivers successful outcomes with winning results.
1. Speeds muscle recovery before and after practice
2. Provides safe rehabilitation following injury
3. Creates a safe environment for training and conditioning during recovery
4. Minimizes joint stress during training
5. Minimizes muscle soreness, pain, and recovery time
6. Allows for treatment programs to begin sooner than land-based therapy
7. Delivers intense workouts without risking injury
Successful aquatic therapy rooms are dedicated spaces that contain specific hydrotherapy equipment. This equipment can include whirlpools, plunge pools, water current therapy pools, or full-sized swimming pools. Here are reasons to include hydrotherapy pools and plunge pools when planning the ultimate aquatic therapy room.
Aquatic therapy pools with a water current are ideal for aquatic therapy and fitness. They pack a powerful punch of function into a small footprint. Because of the water flow, athletes can achieve full body workouts, swim, run, and rehabilitate for overall fitness and conditioning without additional pool equipment. Look for pools where the water speed can vary and where there are different areas or performance zones. This allows for progressive treatments at all ability levels and all stages of injury.
Another highly effective component of hydrotherapy rooms are plunge pools.
During intense exercise, muscles experience microtraumas or tiny tears within individual muscle fibers. Microtraumas are beneficial as they trigger an increase in cell activity which helps strengthen muscles. But, they can also cause inflammation and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). The low water temperatures in a cold plunge help minimize muscle inflammation. Used post exercise athletes gain the beneficial effects of microtraumas without the pain of DOMS. For the most efficient use of this effective tool, some elite teams have plunge pools large enough for the whole team to use following practice or a game. Look for suppliers who can create custom plunge pools to meet your team requirements.
Used before work-outs, hot plunge pools help increase blood flow, flexibility and loosen muscles. This increased flexibility leads to less muscle strain and a more productive exercise session. It is also an ideal tool to speed up recovery following an injury.
Athletic trainers who tap into the power of water for training and recovery understand the basic characteristics of water to facilitate success. These include hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, and viscosity. Water’s ability to support, decrease the weight of an object, and provide resistance will yield positive results.
As the athletic training and rehabilitation coordinator for the Chicago Cubs, Chuck Baughman has developed effective aquatic conditioning and hydrotherapy workout programs at the team’s spring training facility that allows for year-round player development. Click the link below to download your free copy of Baughman’s hydrotherapy lower-body workout and overall conditioning program.