THE DYNAMICS OF AQUATIC REHABILITATION
Aquatic rehabilitation uses exercises in warm water that are designed to aid the recovery from various conditions. In addition to the various physiologic changes that occur during warm water immersion, the physical properties of water offer many advantages to recovery. These include:
- the promotion of muscular relaxation
- reduction of pain sensitivity
- decrease in muscle spasm
- increase in the ease of joint movement
- increase in muscular strength and endurance in cases of excessive weakness
- improvement in peripheral circulation
- improvement of respiratory muscles
- enhanced body awareness and balance
- improved trunk stability and
- increased patient morale and confidence.
Ancient history documents the use of water as a medium for therapeutic use but it is only in recent times that it has evolved to become an integral part of recovery programs.
Aquatic massage encourages a profound feeling of well-being with relief of physical and emotional pain. Many report that it is the most effective treatment for recovery and maintaining mind/body wellness. It promotes a deep sense of relaxation by quieting the sympathetic nervous system and allowing the parasympathetic nervous system to rise, thereby supporting physiological changes to occur throughout the body.
The buoyancy of the water decreases the compression forces on the joints due to gravity. The added application of massage in neutral body temperature water promotes range-of-motion and decreased muscle tension.
Using methodologies such as Watsu – the world’s first form of Aquatic bodywork, myofascial release, and stretching, facilitates recovery from injury and enhances pain management.
The experience allows the receiver to become aware of those parts to the body where dis-ease is felt. Through this connection, self-healing can take place. It is facilitated by the deep relaxation of being in warm water, the removal of gravitational pressure, and the application of massage techniques and dynamic stretches in synchronization with the breath by the practitioner.