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In Florida, swimming is a year-round activity that can help keep you cool. For those struggling with health conditions, swimming can also be used as a therapeutic intervention.

What is Aquatic Physical Therapy?

Aquatic Physical Therapy is the practice of Physical Therapy in the water. It is a safe and effective form of Physical Therapy utilizing evidence-based techniques to help patients move and feel better. It is suitable for people of all ages and all fitness levels.

Aquatic Therapy is different from aquatic exercise or aquatic fitness because it is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that requires the involvement of a licensed Physical Therapist.

Aquatic Physical Therapy consists of guided exercises by your Physical Therapist in the pool while standing, holding onto the side of the pool, or onto a flotation device. If you have arthritis, acute or chronic pain, you are injured, disabled, or have difficulty performing exercises on land, the water provides a safe and effective way to make important gains and progression in your rehabilitation program and daily life.

Aquatic Physical Therapy is recommended instead of or in conjunction with traditional Physical Therapy for patients whose symptoms and abilities require a more gentle and supportive exercise environment.

The natural properties of water that make it an ideal therapeutic environment include:

💧Buoyancy: assists in supporting our weight with the absence of stress that gravity may put on our joints while decreasing compressive forces. The reduction of these gravitational forces can assist with your ability to stand and walk without support. Decreasing joint stress makes it easier and less painful to perform exercises.

💧Viscosity: provides resistance to assist with muscle strengthening without the need for weights, increasing rehabilitation progressions. Resistance with buoyancy allows a person to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that can not be duplicated on land.

💧Hydrostatic Pressure: supports and stabilizes decreasing balance challenges improving the ability to perform exercises without falling. Hydrostatic pressure also improves cardiovascular return, can decrease swelling, and improve overall pain levels. Hydrostatic pressure also improves joint position sense or proprioception and body awareness. The hydrostatic pressure produces forces perpendicular to the body’s surface.

💧Warmth: assists in relaxing muscles and promotes vasodilation, improving circulation, and increasing blood flow to injured areas.

Using water’s buoyancy, viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure, patients can achieve movements unattainable on dry land due to pain, weakness, or the inability to bear weight. These combined properties of water allow for decreased weight-bearing, limiting the stress placed on your joints, which makes it easier and less painful to perform exercises. The added resistance from the water during strengthening exercises can help to further improve your rehabilitation progression.

Aquatic Physical Therapy can enhance your performance and function using a warm aquatic environment to improve joint range of motion, balance, coordination, and strength while decreasing pain.

Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy:

🤽Lowers fall risk

🤽Reduces stress on joints

🤽Builds muscle strength and endurance

🤽Improves flexibility

🤽Promotes relaxation

🤽Improves balance and coordination

🤽Enhances aerobic capacity

🤽Improves circulation

🤽Decreases swelling

🤽Reduces pain

🤽Improves joint sense and proprioception

🤽Improves body awareness

🤽Assists with gait and locomotion

Conditions Treated (not limited to):

🤽Low back pain


🤽Acute or chronic pain

🤽 Sports-related injuries

🤽Balance dysfunction

🤽Prehab- Surgery preparation

🤽Neurological disorders

It is important to know, Aquatic Therapy is not for everyone. Aquatic Therapy is not recommended for those with advanced or symptomatic cardiac disease, open wounds, a fever, an active infection, or bowel/bladder incontinence. It is important to obtain clearance from your Physician before beginning an Aquatic Therapy program.

If you are a candidate for Aquatic Therapy and have a pool in your community or at your home, you may benefit from Aquatic Therapy as part of your rehabilitation program.

Are you ready to say goodbye to pain and hello to Aquatic Physical Therapy?

Visit our website to learn more about how F.I.T. PT can help you!

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