Understanding the Benefits of Aquatic Physical Therapy

Aquatic physical therapy has many names, including water or pool therapy. The name is self-explanatory, but some people may wonder why PT in water is so beneficial. The Louisville physical therapy practices specializing in aquatic therapy can explain the advantages best, but the primary benefit is for early weight bearing, balance, flexibility, or strength training.

What Happens During Aquatic Physical Therapy?

Aquatic physical therapy takes place in water, usually in an indoor pool. Patients should bring a bathing suit or shorts, a T-shirt, a towel, and a drink — preferably water.

A physiotherapist or physical therapy assistant typically guides a patient through specific exercises. The exercises and routines during sessions differ based on patient needs.

The beauty of aquatic physical therapy is that it often allows patients to perform exercises they couldn’t perform on land. With the buoyancy of the water, a patient doesn’t experience the full weight and pressure from gravity, allowing for easier movement.

With less pressure on the joints and muscles of a patient, physiotherapists or an assistant can more easily work through necessary movements and stretches. Aqua PT is typically beneficial in cases of extreme injuries and recoveries or specific mobility or chronic challenges.

During initial aquatic sessions, a physical therapist may only introduce a patient to the water and routine. The primary focus of the therapist during the initial meetings is to gauge a patient’s baseline. They want to know how far to push so they can develop a program and timeline for recovery or reaching goals.

If you want to explore aquatic options for your PT or recovery, check out local Louisville physical therapy locations. You can also ask your primary care physician for recommendations.

Situations Where Aquatic PT Is Appropriate

Aquatic physical therapy is a suitable treatment option for many conditions. Some of the most common conditions treatable with PT include:


Balance disorders

Chronic conditions

Cervical pain

Parkinson’s disease

Patients should consult their primary physicians before attending or signing on for aquatic physical therapy. Water therapy may not be appropriate for all conditions or situations.

Types of Aquatic PT

Patients should understand the main aquatic therapy programs: outpatient and transitional. Outpatient programs include one-on-one sessions and cater to a patient’s specific needs. Patients also require a physician’s order in most cases.

Transitional therapy focuses more on independent exercises and patients who are beyond one-on-one needs. The program still includes supervision, but it is not as intense as outpatient options. Also, because the program goes beyond outpatient needs, insurance companies may not cover the costs, meaning patients are out-of-pocket for the expenses.

Regardless of the program, patients can expect to see improvements if they stick to the routines. PT requires commitment in and out of the pool.

If you are looking for physical therapy near me, consider consulting your primary care physician for a referral. You can also call local PT locations to determine the protocol for treatment. Consult with a nearby physiotherapist to discover the advantages of aquatic therapy and determine eligibility for treatment and possible insurance coverage.

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