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How Aqua Therapy Works

Okay moving on.

Therapy by definition is all about helping us get healthy

and sometimes, knowing what to expect in therapy

can make it easier to get started.

So today I'm checking out what aqua therapy is all about.

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So today I am with Jess at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

Now Jess, I think we should start with

talking about who exactly aqua therapy is for.

- Aqua therapy is for all age ranges and all populations.

Chronic patients, musculoskeletal, neuromuscular

which could be our spinal cord injury,

traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's.

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- So I would imagine getting

in the water is actually allowing

these people to move a little bit easier?

- Absolutely.

So the water allows a really unique environment

using buoyancy and viscosity to allow both

off-weighting of our joints and a decrease in pain.

It's a really great way and an easy way to get moving.

- They may be a little concerned

about getting into the water, they may not know how to swim

and so they say I don't want to get into the pool.

What do you say to them?

- Our pool is four feet around.

Most people's heads will be well out of water

and so it really does allow a safe environment to exercise.

- Okay so we're gonna get in the pool.

- Yes.

- And you're gonna show me some exercises.

- Absolutely.

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It's warm. - It's warm!

- Yes, it's really warm. - Oh this is my kind of pool.

It's warm.

- Yes and it makes you feel more relaxed.

- Yes.

- And decreases pain if you use pain management.

So for people who may be a little bit nervous

about getting in the pool or scared of falling,

we can give them a noodle to support them.

This is how we typically warm up

a lot of our aquatic sessions.

This will allow us an increase in balance,

stability, maybe also if there's a little bit

less functional strength

or if we're just off-weighting our joints,

opening up and increasing our range of motion

in what can be a pain-free environment for a lot of people.

Now we'll go over to our right and left.

- [Jane] Right and left.

- So we know that multi-directional walking also improves

balance whether it's in the aquatic environment on land.

We're gonna try to progress this and show how we can use

this as a resisted exercise as well.

So I'm gonna have you push the noodle down

and have a seat on it

and we're gonna do some aerobic exercise.

- Okay. - Okay.

So from here, I'm gonna have you just start bicycling.

Again we can always make this easier

or harder using our hands

or not using our hands.

- [Jane] We wrap things up with some arm exercises.

- Keep our arms out and then you're gonna push

all the way down to your thighs

and you can even tell you're using your cores.

- I was just about to say I can feel my core.

- And so once we come up, let's come to maybe another

one of our exercises out to the side

and we'll just push down and now you can tell

the balance is a little easier,

but we're still doing a good shoulder exercise.

- So Jess, I think the biggest takeaway that we can take

from aquatic therapy is that it's really an easy way

to get moving and get healthy.

- Yeah absolutely and it really captures

all of our different patients' ages and population.

It's something that everyone can really use.

- To learn how other things work in the world of health,

just head to our website, LivingHealthyTV.com.

(Jane laughs)