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Take the plunge – could hydrotherapy work for you?

04 July 2018

Water: good for keeping you hydrated, brushing your teeth and having a shower – have you thought about how it may be good for rehabilitation? Although many of us are unfamiliar with the healing effects, hydrotherapy is an innovative rehabilitation service and a great way of improving an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing.

So, what’s the difference between physiotherapy on land and in water? Hydrotherapy uses the principles of water to provide buoyancy and assistance, or resistance, in order to strengthen muscles. The support and warmth of the water often gives a feeling of security, which enables the individual to achieve more than is normally possible on dry land often in the early stages of rehabilitation). The properties of the pool such as temperature and hydrostatic pressure also promote an increase in circulation and flexibility of the tissues.

Hydrotherapy has multiple benefits, from treating major physical illness and injuries to improving general health and well-being. A hydro pool can be invaluable in assisting the recovery of surgery and/or injuries but additionally in helping muscular conditions such as arthritis, fatigue, back pain and much more. As well as an array of physical benefits, hydrotherapy can also have a positive impact on a person’s psychological wellbeing. Sessions are proven to promote relaxation, reduce blood pressure and increase the production of endorphins, a neurochemical stress fighter. This can do wonders when you’re getting frustrated or worried about ongoing discomfort, as endorphins help to relieve both stress and anxiety.

The majority of exercises carried out during hydrotherapy are done while standing, sitting or holding on to the bar which runs around the pool and with a physiotherapist always present, therefore you don’t have to be able to swim to take hydrotherapy sessions. The pool temperature is heated to between 34 and 35 degrees, which is just below body temperature, and should allow you to feel comfortable in the water. Most treatment sessions last for about half an hour, but it will depend on your individual needs.

Here at Spire Harpenden Hospital we offer personal Physiotherapist-led hydrotherapy sessions as well as ‘self-help’ appointments for patients who have either recently completed a course of hydrotherapy or are currently attending a course of treatment in the pool and wish to continue on a more independent basis. For further information and to find out conditions of use, please contact our Physiotherapy Department on 01582 714 447.

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