Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Annalise Butler, Physiotherapist, Vivir Healthcare

Annalise Butler, Physiotherapist, Vivir Healthcare

28 September 2022

Elderly man doing hydrotherapy in aged care

Physiotherapists can use many different techniques and modalities to help you to achieve your goals, maintain independence, and achieve optimal health and wellbeing. A physiotherapist can complete a thorough assessment and talk through what your main concerns are, what goals you wish to achieve, and create a personalised rehabilitation program to suit your individual needs.

There are several treatments that a physiotherapist can use to help you to achieve wellness; these include advice and education, encouragement and support, strengthening exercises, range of motion exercises, mobility exercises, balance exercises, walking aid prescription, manual therapy such as massage or joint mobilisations, dry needling, and hydrotherapy.

What is hydrotherapy and how can it help?

Hydrotherapy (also known as water-based therapy, aquatic therapy, or pool therapy) is exercise-based therapy performed in the water, instead of on land. Physiotherapists can provide you with an individualised exercise program, while using the natural therapeutic benefits of warm water.

Hydrotherapy may be used to:

  • Reduce and manage pain

  • Decrease load and stress on joints

  • Encourage muscle relaxation

  • Improve mobility

  • Improve cardiovascular fitness

  • Improve muscle strength

  • Improve balance and reduce falls risk

  • Improve swelling and oedema

  • Improve co-ordination

  • Improve circulation

  • Improve joint range of motion

Water-based exercise allows you to exercise in an environment which uses the physical properties of water- such as the changes in density, pressure, buoyancy, and resistance to your advantage.

The effects of the water allow you to perform movements in the pool with reduced load and stress on your joints and muscles; allowing for improvements in strength and mobility while the water supports your weight. The warmth and buoyancy of the water helps to relieve pain and increase the range of motion in your joints. This is especially beneficial for those who find walking or weight bearing activities difficult. The water can also be used to provide resistance to improve muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness for heart and lung health.

How do hydrotherapy sessions work?

Your physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment before starting hydrotherapy, including a review of your medical history and screening questionnaire to ensure that it is safe to take you into the pool. The physiotherapist will meet you at the hydrotherapy pool. These sessions are one-on-one and the physiotherapist will be in the pool alongside you to guide you through the exercises. Exercising in water can be modified to be as challenging or supportive as you need.

Hydrotherapy can benefit people with varying levels of ability and mobility; most hydrotherapy pools are installed with ramps and rails to make it easy to access the water even if you have reduced confidence on land.

If you would like to learn more about our allied health services, including how hydrotherapy can work for you, please get in touch with our support team today.