Why would I do aquatic therapy instead of land based therapy?
Aquatic therapy is often a good option for those that have tried and not tolerated land based therapy because it was too painful, or the patient too weak. It’s also great for those that are too acutely injured and require buoyancy to assist their movement. Some people may not be able to move their body weight against the force of gravity, but can build their strength with the assistance of buoyancy. Joints may be too worn and/or painful to “therapeutically dose” exercise on land, but often this can be done successfully in the water.
Will my insurance pay for aquatic therapy? Will insurance pay for the water walking program?
The answer is probably! We have only encountered one insurance plan that doesn’t pay for aquatic therapy that is ordered by a doctor. Defnitely call your insurance provider to check on this benefit, though. Becuase aquatic walking could be considered a “wellness service” under some insurance plans, it’s worth a call to your insurance provider to see if you might qualify for reimbursement for water walking too!
What does a typical aquatic therapy session look like?
This is tailored to the individual patient. In some cases the entire session may consist of exercise–stretching, strengthening, and endurance exercise using the unique properties of the water to relieve pain and to modify intensity. It can also consist of manual therapy–treatments to relieve pain and increase mobility, either with the use of the therapist’s hands or with the assistance of tools such as the aquatic jet massagers. Most appointments last about 45 minutes.
What is the difference between aquatic therapy and the water walking program?
Aquatic therapy is skilled physical therapy (using strategies as above), with the patient working one-on-one with a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant, providing exercise tailored to a patient’s specific diagnosis, adressing limitations and functional goals.
The water walking program is a fitness program open to the public for walking in our heated 92-degree pool as a means of exercise. Think of this as similar to a gym membership (but instead the punch card buys you sessions of pool walking).
Who can benefit from aquatic therapy and who can benefit from the water walking program?
Aquatic therapy: Those that have had an injury, stroke, or chronic condition and are trying to regain their prior level of function or maximize their level of function. Patients will often “graduate” from aquatic therapy to an independent aquatic exercise program or walking program.
Water walking: Those that are looking for a means of exercise that is easier on their joints, provides reistance to muscles and cardiovascular challenge, yet is relaxing. In some cases this would be appropriate for someone who has a chronic condition but has a good idea of how to manage this (ie – advanced knee arthritis but not ready to have a replacement and has had formal physical therapy). In some cases this is a good way to continue to build upon gains made in formal physical therapy. In some cases this can be a means of “cross training” to add variety to an individual’s exercise program.