Did you know that the OI physical therapy department offers warm water aquatics?
Warm water aquatics is an exercise therapy program that is performed in a heated pool. With one-on-one guidance by a certified physical therapist, this special therapy will help to heal your pain and increase your exercise performance. “If a patient cannot tolerate a traditional gym-based therapy exercise, the warm water pool allows the patient to exercise more comfortably,” said Pamm Hunter, Director of Physical Therapy at the Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois. Warm water aquatic exercise is great for patients with arthritis, bone fractures, disability and other factors such as being overweight which may make it uncomfortable or too painful to perform the same exercise on land.
There are numerous positive benefits of using warm water for therapeutic exercise.
- The buoyancy of water allows a patient to exercise with less effort.
Buoyancy is the property of water that pushes your body upward and allows you to float. This special property of water puts less stress on your feet, knees and hips than land based exercise. This will make it easier and less painful for you to perform therapeutic exercise and movement.
- The warmth relaxes the muscles and helps reduce pain.
The OI therapy pool runs at 94 degrees Fahrenheit. The warm water acts as a liquid heating pad surrounding you and relaxing every muscle of your body at once. The warmth reduces joint pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain issues.
- The warm water increases blood circulation.
Poor blood flow can contribute to joint pain, muscle aches and weakness. Good blood circulation allows nutrient rich blood and oxygen to flow throughout the body. When muscles are well oxygenated, a patient can exercise longer and gain its benefits before feeling tired.
- The water helps improve balance without fear of falling.
The buoyancy of water moves and pushes on the body. To keep the body upright, your body will naturally adjust to these forces thus increasing your balance. Because you are performing these exercises in water, the risk for injury is small if balance is lost.
- The gentle water resistance helps to build strength.
The viscosity of water forms a gentle yet effective environment to strengthen muscles during therapeutic exercise. Even though it feels easier to exercise in water, exercise in water can provide up to 15 times more resistance than the same exercise on land.
- The depth of the warm water therapy pool varies from shallow to deep. This allows for partial to non-weight bearing exercises.
As you move deeper into the pool, your exercise will become less weight-bearing. Your physical therapist will access you and your body’s specific needs and guide you with what exercise you should perform and at what depth.
- The reduced gravity effects of water allow gentle joint and spinal traction to decompress nerves.
Healthy and well functioning joints have a small bit of space lubricated with fluid in between them. With age and/or certain injury, our joints can become compressed especially in the spine causing back pain. The buoyant property of water allows a patient to gain relief from this pain by gently pulling the joint and spine in different directions. This leads to more space between the affected joints to relieve pain caused by this type of compression.
Call today to make an appointment with one of our accredited physical therapists at OISI to see if warm water aquatic therapy will benefit you, 618-984-2484.