How It Works & the Benefits of Hydrotherapy

dr-foot-hydro-therapyHydrotherapy is The Use of Water to Provide Therapeutic Effects

The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact through your joints, deceasing pain levels and allowing a higher intensity of activity and exercise. This means that water-based treatment can help to limit stiffness, improve your movement and strengthen your muscles. As well as this, the increased pressure on your body in the water can help to reduce swelling and improve circulation.

Hydrotherapy increases blood circulation, including circulation of the immune system’s white blood cells. Hydrotherapy also increases the body’s production of endogenous opioid peptides, particularly endorphins. Enhanced circulation and increased endorphins strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, heal injured tissue, improve well-being and energize the body. Hydrotherapy also supplies fresh nutrients and oxygen to injured tissue and helps with the removal of waste products. In injuries alternate applications of heat and cold accelerate healing by improving blood vessel integrity and muscle tone. Heat causes peripheral (surface) blood vessels to dilate or expand. Cold causes peripheral blood vessels to constrict and drives blood back to the organs.

This can all lead to increased confidence and function, which is why water-based therapy has been found to be as beneficial as exercises on land.

The additional benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Pain relief.
  • Reduction in muscle spasm.
  • Increased joint range of motion.
  • Strengthening of weak muscles.
  • Increased circulation.
  • Improvement of balance and co-ordination.
  • Re-education of paralysed muscles


dr-foot-hydro-therapy-contraindicationsIn certain circumstances, hydrotherapy is not recommended.

  • Inflammation – acute injuries where redness and heat are still present are not recommended for hydrotherapy treatment.
  • Fever – whole body warming is not recommended if a temperature is present.
  • Heart disease – increased blood flow may place stress on the heart.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – as above.
  • Vascular conditions – Increased circulation is not advised.
  • Kidney problems
  • Cancer
  • Haemorrhage

Hydrotherapy is the safest and most progressive form of rehabilitation because it takes place in a gravity neutral environment, thus decreasing impact and trauma on weight bearing joints during rehabilitation. The simulated weightlessness allows treatment to begin earlier and more safely, allowing the water to accelerate the healing process.

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