Aquatic Physical Therapy
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Aquatic Physical Therapy at CPWorking with a physical therapist specifically trained in aquatic therapy, clients will develop personalized, functional goals and work toward improving mobility, strength, balance and coordination.

Aquatic physical therapy can be beneficial to add to a current physical therapy program or can offer further treatment once physical therapy is completed.

To see if aquatic physical therapy is right for you, contact our intake specialist at (920) 337-1122 x1220.

Aquatic Physical Therapy FAQs | Is Aquatic Physical Therapy Right For Me?

Andrea Weyenberg
Physical Therapist Assistant

Q: Is it necessary to know how to swim for aquatic therapy?
A:. Actually no, you don’t have to know how to swim at all to benefit from aquatic therapy. We utilize aquatic equipment, whether it is floatation buoys or waist belts along with assistance from the therapist to make for a very comfortable, and safe environment. Most of the time you may not even get you hair wet! You’ll be working under the close supervision of a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant at all times to ensure your safety and comfort.

Q: What if I’m afraid of the water?
A: We have many patients who were afraid of the water before beginning aquatic physical therapy. We work very closely with them in shallower water until they become comfortable…and they all do.
Q: Can patients without bladder control/ with a catheter participate in aquatic therapy?
A: Patients without bladder control must empty their bladder before aquatic therapy session. In order to participate, patients using a catheter must obtain prior permission from their physician. During therapy, the catheter must be blocked prior to the pool session. 

Q: Can patients with bedsore/ open wounds receive aquatic therapy?
A: Yes, patients with bedsore/ open wounds can participate in aquatic therapy after the application of a wet dressing (specialized dressing which prevents water going into the wound). Permission from your physician or surgeon is required before coming for therapy.

Q: Do I need to wear a swimming suit or can I come in regular shorts?
A: No, shorts and t-shirts are acceptable  

Q: Will aquatic therapy benefit me?
A: Aquatic therapy is one of the modalities of physical therapy, if you need/are referred to physical therapy then aquatic therapy will be beneficial as well. Compared to physical therapy on land, it is easier to move in the water and exercises in water are more fun. You will be assessed on land first to find your impairment, activity and participation restriction. Based on the assessment your therapist will decide if you need aquatic therapy or not. Most of the time a combination of land and aquatic based exercises are beneficial for patients for strengthening, postural/trunk control, balance and gait training.

Q: Will I be taught/allowed to do exercises on my own in the pool during/after my aquatic therapy session?
A: Yes, after receiving appropriate training from your aquatic therapist and you are safe to perform exercises by yourself or with a family member /friend that has been instructed to assist you with your prescribed exercise program.

Q: Are there particular benefits to aquatic therapy that you won’t find with another type of rehabilitation program?
A: Aquatic therapy takes place in a heated therapeutic pool and is an ideal method to relieve pain and improve function because it uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing. The pool is heated to 92 degrees. The warm water helps to increase circulation, respiratory rate, muscle metabolism, strength, flexibility and ease of movement while reducing pain through decreased weight-bearing and reduced joint stress. The buoyancy of water supports up to 90% of body weight and the hydrostatic pressure of the water surrounding the body significantly reduces the force of stress placed on the joints, making it easier and less painful to perform exercises. The warmth of the super-heated water relaxes muscles and vasodilates or opens vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas and allowing for increased range of motion.

Q: How do I go about becoming an aquatic therapy patient?
A: To become an aquatic physical therapy patient, you will need a prescription for physical therapy from your doctor. The prescription does not necessarily have to say “aquatic physical therapy”. This decision is between you and your physical therapist. Many physicians do specifically prescribe aquatic physical therapy for their patients and that’s no problem. Keep in mind that the decision rests with you. Discuss it with your doctor and you both may agree that a physical therapy evaluation for aquatics may be in order.
Q: Am I able to have aquatic physical therapy if I am already doing land based physical therapy?
A: Yes, in most cases insurance companies authorize both types of physical therapy. However, you will likely not be able to have both types of visits on the same day.