Aquatic Physical Therapy

Several properties of water are integral to the effectiveness of aquatic therapy:

Buoyancy: a person submerged to the neck weighs 1/10th of their regular body weight, allowing for increased mobility and reducing joint stress

Hydro-static pressure: This reduces the swelling of joints and tissues, and is particularly important for minimizing the pain of chronic joint or muscle conditions from recent injuries


 Water surface tension – This creates resistance for limbs partially submerged, allowing the patient to gradually strengthen weak muscles


Resistance – Water increases resistance  against movement by 600 - 700 times that of air, increasing the  potential for muscle strengthening. 

Aquatic therapists are Physical Therapists with special  post-degree training in the unique properties of aquatic therapy. 

Aquatic therapy is especially effective for patients  after surgery or injury because it allows for earlier weight-bearing  activities which lead to less pain and a faster recovery.

Aquatic therapist work 1-on-1 with clients to provide a rehabilitation program individualized for: 


Balance problems

  • Multiple sclerosis – To aid patients in maintaining and possibly improving their strength and muscle control
  • Post brain attack (stroke) care – To help patients regain basic life skills and lost function
  • Prolonged immobilization – To assist  patients in relearning balance and control after a prolonged period of  inactivity or immobilization

Post surgical rehabilitation

  • Post hip fracture – Allows patients to work on building and strengthening techniques in a controlled weight environment
  • Post knee injury surgery – Reduces swelling and is ideal for working on range of motion exercises
  • Post shoulder surgery – Provides resistance for building strength and range of motion
  • Post spine surgery – Allows patients  to build up to full weight-bearing exercises by providing an environment  where they experience only 10% of their actual body weight


  • Exercise program – A controlled  environment helps alleviate the constant, chronic pain associated with  this condition and encourages activity to counter degeneration caused by  inactivity

General deconditioning

  • Assists patients in regaining  strength in an environment where body weight is minimized as gravity is  countered by the person’s buoyancy