What is Hydrotherapy / Aquatic Therapy?
Hydrotherapy / Aquatic therapy is defined as :
“A Physiotherapy programme utilising the properties of water, designed by a suitably qualified Physiotherapist. The programme should be specific for an individual to maximise function, which can be physical, physiological, or psychosocial. Treatments should be carried out by appropriately trained personnel, ideally in a purpose built, and heated Hydrotherapy pool”
HACP 2007- Now ATACP
The hydrotherapy pool is heated to a constant temperature of between 34 and 35 degrees. Access to the pool is either by a set of stairs with a handrail, or by electric hoist if a patient is unable to access the stairs.
There are changing room cubicles in the pool area, but please be aware there are no lockers to secure your belongings or hair dryers in the area. Shower facilities are available in the pool and changing room areas.
The pool is used to rehabilitate patients in an aquatic environment, ideally those who are unable to exercise on dry land for various reasons. Rehabilitation in the pool has many advantages. It helps to lessen the load on your joints and can be used to improve joint range of movement, joint stability and muscle strength in a warm environment. Aquatic therapy can also be effective in improving general mobility, balance and core stability.
Patients are referred for aquatic therapy at the discretion of the physiotherapist they are seeing on dry land. The referring physiotherapist will ask a number of medical questions prior to considering aquatic therapy, to check if the patient is medically safe to attend pool based rehabilitation.
The physiotherapist who runs the pool sessions will determine what exercises are appropriate for the patient according to the referral sent by the dry land physiotherapist. This can include the use of various buoyancy aids. These aids are used to provide either resistance or assistance to joint movements, dependent upon your individual goals. Patients have a set number of sessions in the aquatic therapy pool which is determined by the physiotherapist who runs the pool sessions. On completion of their course of aquatic therapy, patients will have a dry land review, with the referring physiotherapist.
By the end of the course of aquatic therapy, patients will have a set of pool exercises which they can continue to perform independently in a local swimming baths or pool in the future.
I feel I need more support
If you’re in the Middlesbrough area, Middlesbrough Council has a range of programmes to give you varying degrees of support. Please see link here.
For those in the Redcar and Cleveland area, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council also provide a range of programmes to give you varying degrees of support. Please see link here for more details.
These schemes are a good stepping stone if you feel that you need a little more ongoing support to help you once you have completed your course of physiotherapy. Please talk to your physiotherapist if you would like to be referred to one of the services and they will recommend to your GP that you are referred to the scheme if it is appropriate.