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Due to the threat of severe winter weather this weekend, UNC Health Southeastern’s current operational plan is to close its outpatient services and clinics on Friday, Jan. 21. Services will return to normal operations on Saturday, Jan. 22. For more information, click here.

Aquatic Therapy

aquatic pool

The use of aquatic therapy allows our therapists to initiate early ambulation following surgery for patients with weight bearing restrictions in a gravity reduced environment. Various systems of the body including: balance, gait, body awareness, and trunk stability can be trained in an environment where the patient is surrounded, and supported receiving feedback from the water in three dimensions.

Aquatic therapy or pool therapy consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical conditions. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise performance. Aquatic therapy uses the buoyancy provided by the water to decrease the amount of weight bearing thereby, reducingthe stress placed on joints.

This aspect of aquatic therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones or who are overweight.

Other benefits of aquatic therapy include:

  • Improved muscle strength and tone
  • Increased cardiovascular function Reduced stress
  • Decreased swelling
  • Increased circulation
  • Increased strength and endurance
  • Increased range of motion and flexibility
  • Increased balance and coordination

Aquatic therapy also uses the viscosity of water to provide resistance. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need for weights. Aquatic therapy also utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling that results after injury or with arthritic disorders, in addition the hydrostatic pressure is also used to improve joint position awareness which is often disrupted after joint sprains or ligament tears.

Lastly, the warmth of the water assists in relaxing muscles and vasodialates vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas. patients with muscle spasms, backpain and fibromyalgia find this aspect of aquatic therapy especially therapeutic.

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