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Healing Waters: Get Pain Relief And Increased Mobility With Aquatic Therapy

| July 30, 2012

Whether it is for leisure or as an aerobic activity, swimming is a great way to cross train or add diversity to your workout. Did you know that the pool is also a great conduit for people experiencing pain or recovering from surgery? Water serves as a highly effective environment for the post-surgical or acutely painful patient seeking improved mobility and pain relief. Aquatic exercise provides individuals the ability to gain movement in a gravity-reduced environment that will allow for improvements in strength and function and progress in recovery.

Less Stress:

Exercise in the water allows for less stress on bones, joints and soft tissues while still providing an effective workout. Patients with soft tissue injury, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or orthopedic disorders benefit from the buoyancy (upward force) of the water.  Working out in the water reduces the amount of weight the spine and joints have to support. Water buoyancy supports about 50 percent of a person’s body weight when immersed waist-deep and about 75-90 percent of body weight for a person immersed up to the neck.


Exercising in water creates resistance, which can aid in increasing muscle strength and stamina for people who have been inactive. It also helps maintain strength for those who are currently active. For an even greater benefit, resistance devices can be used as a tool to increase the resistance for greater outcomes.


Pressure from being immersed in the water facilitates blood circulation, which means your heart works more effectively. You can reduce your target heart rate as much as 17 beats per minute.

Who can it help?

Other diagnosis that aquatic therapy may help with, include:

  • Depression
  • Inadequate oral facial control
  • Joint replacements
  • Motor skill deficiencies
  • Neurological issues
  • Obesity
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Perceptual and spatial issues
  • Prenatal
  • Rheumatology
  • Sensory disorders
  • Spasticity

There are many types of aquatic therapy available that may help patients to achieve their goals.  Some are very active and others are passive and meant to reduce the stresses on the body to generate a calming effect to reduce pain/tone. At VTFC we incorporate multiple types of aquatic therapies and principles to design and develop the appropriate therapeutic protocol to help meet patients’ goals.

Benefits of Aquatic Exercise:

  • Balance
  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary function
  • Coordination
  • Core strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Muscle strength

In addition to the benefits of regular exercise, aquatic exercise provides additional benefits that should encourage you to think about incorporating it into your exercise regimen. We offer aquatic therapy at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center. Call 703.709.1116 to set up your appointment!

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