Hydrotherapy for mobility and walking.
Being able to walk freely and independently is often a part of life that we take for granted. It can understandably be very distressing and frustrating when our mobility is reduced. There are many reasons that we may experience a sudden or gradual reduction in our ability to walk.
- Neurological conditions.
- Cardiovascular or respiratory disorders.
- The aging process resulting in weaker muscles and a loss of overall strength.
- Injury to our muscles, bones or joints.
- Osteoarthritis, resulting in pain and joint degeneration.
- Surgery with a period of immobility.
- Ill health.
Getting back on your feet can be challenging and can understandably cause anxiety and a fear of falling.
The hydrotherapy pool can provide a safe and effective environment in which to build strength, balance and skills in order to improve your ability to walk on land.
This is because the water offers:
The buoyancy of the water allows for decreased weight bearing and can help you to feel safe and confident when up on your feet.
The warm temperature of the water helps decrease muscle tightness or spasms so that joints can move more easily and freely in the water.
The viscosity of water allows for slower movement. This provides more time to react to balance challenges. The viscosity of water also offers the opportunity to perform functional activities without assistance. For instance, if you require a walking aid on land, you may be able to walk in water using only a long buoyancy bar or close supervision.
- Surface tension
Water’s surface tension offers resistance, which helps to increase muscle strength. It also helps improve body awareness.
- Hydrostatic pressure
The pressure of the water can help to decrease oedema and swelling, which is particularly beneficial following surgery. The pressure also leads to improved cardiac output. This means that exercising in water can improve your cardio-vascular fitness more effectively than on land.
Because your vision of your limbs is altered or limited in water by refraction, you have to rely more heavily on your sense of joint position (proprioception) which in turn can promote this ability on land. As a result, your balance can be improved.
The turbulence of the water means that you are working against increased resistance, which in turn increases strength and endurance and improves balance.