This is a great addition to the aquatic environment. Treadmills can help reeducate patients to proper gait patterns by restoring muscle memory. The treadmill can be further progressed by changing their speed, walking direction, or using it in conjunction with the water current.
Some hydrotherapy pools come with pre-installed, color coded work stations to easily explain and perform exercises. Built at various depths and located around the pool, these offer additional ways for patients to implement water protocols.
Most therapeutic pools have an adjustable water currentthat can be used as a mechanical advantage depending on the goals of the treatment session. This feature can be used to progress patients by improving: neuromuscular education, proper walking mechanics, passive and active range of motion, and open and closed chain strengthening.
Similar to the jets found in a hot tub, hydrotherapy jets can be strategically placed in a pool to massage and loosen muscles.
Flippers, gloves, floating dumbbells, ankle weights, kickboards, noodles, aqua joggers and other pool toys can all be used to enhance aquatic therapy. These accessories provide drag which can add resistant to further enhance an exercise or help a patient float with minimal effort.
There are a few basics you should do before you begin.
First decide the best time to introduce aquatic therapy into the treatment plan. This can vary from therapist to therapist and patient to patient. The main question to ask is: will decreasing body weight during protocols help decrease symptoms? If the answer is yes, then aquatic therapy is a beneficial approach.
The water temperature must be between 92-95 degrees to be categorized as “therapeutic.” This water temperature has many benefits such as: increased blood flow to the working muscles, decreased edema, and decreased pain. Patients can improve their range of range of motion and see an increase in functional movements. Again, it is important to review the reasons to avoid hydrotherapy. High water temperatures may adversely affect patients with cardiac and respiratory conditions. These patients should be further examined prior to getting in the pool.
Providing patients with a comfortable home exercise program they can learn prior to entering the pool will help achieve successful results. If patients are familiar with specific exercises before getting in the pool, it’s easier to focus on improving functional movements in an essentially weightless, pain-free environment.
There are many other pool features and options available on the market. Dive in today and make water therapy part of your treatment plan.