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A hydrotherapy pool can be a significant investment. In the medical sector, therapy is often a non-commercial investment, and there to help people increase their quality of life.
Types of hydrotherapy pools
A therapy pool can be a concrete pool or stainless steel modular pool. Most hydrotherapy pools include an integrated height-adjustable floor (movable floor). A movable floor allows a therapist, caregiver of swim coach to adjust the depth of the therapy pool.
Benefits of a height-adjustable floor
Benefits of this unique integrated floor are that the weight of the patient changes by adjusting water height. If the patient is submerged till the hip, weight is reduced up to 50-60 %. This has a significant impact on the weight-bearing of joints and spine. The height of the floor can be changed for every program.
Seven example hydrotherapy treatment programs
A therapy pool is an important tool for hydrotherapy. The investment in a pool can only be effective if the therapists understand the possibilities.
We have listed seven example hydrotherapy treatment programs to help and guide a therapist, caregiver or swim coach, but also to increase revenue.
1. Deep water running
Deep water running is great to work on improving fitness without the load on the joints. It’s also a safe alternative to outside running on sweltering and humid days.
Within this hydrotherapy treatment program, water depth should be set, so the patient can’t reach the floor.
Deep water running exercises require a floatation belt.
2. Fall prevention exercise in water
Falls are the second leading cause of death, worldwide. Around 646 000 people die from falls every year and 37.3 million falls are severe enough to require medical attention.
Effective prevention strategies can create a net savings of over €109 million each year.
World Health Organisation (WHO) writes that fall prevention strategies should be prioritized. WHO describes 'muscle strengthening and balance retraining prescribed by a trained health professional’ as an effective program.
An obstacle course is an excellent way of strengthening muscles and retrain muscles. It also increases body flexibility, leg strength, and overall endurance, and reduces the fear of falling. The obstacle course is simple, easy, fun and can be practised right at any pool with a movable floor.
Are you a therapist or caregiver, and you wish to learn more about fall prevention or fall training? It is recommended to follow a hydrotherapy workshop given by professional trainers. > Read more about hydrotherapy workshops.
Water depth depends on the capability of the patient. Suggested is to start shoulder height of the patient, slowly go to waist height and finish at knee height.
3. Aqua cycling
Aqua cycling, also called Aqua biking is an underwater spinning activity. Aqua biking is great for building muscle and endurance. Aqua biking is popular amongst young people within aqua classes or rehabilitation, but also elderly who wish to keep cycling in a safe environment.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, elderly cyclists account for one of the highest numbers of head injuries and fatalities among all cyclists. > Read more. Aqua cycling can keep the elderly active in a safe environment.
Exercising underwater avoids the risk of injuries to the back, ankles and joints, especially hips and knees are spared.
Water depth can start from chest height (while the patient is on the bike), to support the patient as much as possible.
4. Watsu Aquatic Massage
Watsu is an aquatic massage where the therapist uses massage techniques while you float comfortably in a warm water pool. Often used for clients with chronic illness such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson, DP, Depression, Sleep problems, headaches and more.
Research has proven that Watsu decreases the level of mental disorders like mental stress, distrust in performance, sleep disorders, and anxiety (Barbosa, 2014). In other words, Watsu can improve the quality of life and can be used to create a healthier life.
Water height can be set to the therapist’s waist.
Read more about 'Why Watsu?’
5. Water rehabilitation therapy
Water rehabilitation therapy can considerably cut ‘patients’ expected rehabilitation times. People who have undergone a surgery or need to recover from a disease or condition, can gain from the beneficial effects of water.
For example, patients with knee injuries can recover safe by performing walking exercises with the use of parallel bars or an underwater treadmill.
6. Pain reduction treatment in warm water
Warm water can relieve pain. Research shows that warm water therapy works wonders for all kinds of musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia.
Warm water reduces the force of gravity, which compresses the joints, water offers support, can decrease swelling and inflammation and increase blood circulation.
Warm water therapy is a great environment for gentle exercises. It stimulates blood flow to frozen joints and stiff muscles.
7. Elderly with Dementia & Swimming
Aquamentia is a newly developed swimming intervention for people with dementia. Symptoms of people with dementia can be memory loss, loss of coordination and balance, struggle with vocabulary.
How can water therapy help with dementia, you may ask? During the intervention, therapists have experienced vocabulary improvements in their patients after water therapy sessions!
The therapist also experienced that patients are less likely to wander, as they are inside a pool. This makes therapy easier for the therapist.
Water therapy for people with dementia can also improve the coordination and balance of the patient in a safe manner. Water will protect the patient from falling on a hard surface and therefore reduce injury.
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