Physicians, physiotherapists, orthopedists all agree: water is a valuable ally in rehabilitation programs, because it strengthens the muscles without fatiguing joints, improving balance and promoting postoperative recovery. That is why in recent years hydrotherapy has spread more and more, becoming part of the great family of aquatic therapies.
What are the benefits of rehabilitation in water?
There are countless benefits: from restoring joint and muscular functions after a trauma or an accident to curing symptomatology such as lower back pain and support for subjects with difficulty moving due to overweight, skeletal musculoskeletal disorders or recent osteoporosis or fractures. In elderly subjects, rehabilitation in water allows for greater motor control and improved balance, with a lower risk of falls that in older age could have serious consequences.
A proper rehabilitation program should be based on three principles: floating, viscosity and hydrostatic pressure and must be prepared by a specialist based on the needs of the patient, followed at least three times a week to achieve the goals set.
How does rehabilitation work?
With a series of exercises where the body is submerged in water, in part or in whole. Water weight varies according to your weight at immersion. To give you an idea, with total immersion, the water weight will be about 3%, rising to 50% if the water only reaches the navel and 80% if it only reaches mid-thigh.
In short, the more we are immersed, the more we can enjoy the so-called Archimedes principle that “a body immersed in a liquid receives a hydrostatic thrust from the bottom upwards equal to the weight of the liquid shifted.” This translates into the fact that the weight weighing on the joints in the water is greatly reduced and the reduction of the force of gravity makes it possible to perform the otherwise difficult movements if not impossible that you perform on the ground.
Thanks to the principle of viscous reaction, or the resistance of the liquid to the immersed body, muscles can be reinforced without an excess load, as can be the case, for example, with running or other aerobic activity on the ground. Hydrostatic pressure, which depends on the water level, improves equilibrium and proprioception or the ability to regulate posture.
Rehabilitation in water is suitable for everyone and does not require special skills: in fact, the water level never exceeds 1.20 meters, there is always qualified personnel to check the correct execution of the exercises and can you can also use support tools such as kick boards to help you stay afloat.
When it’s indicated:
In case of fractures, distortions, dislocations, muscle toning in preparation for surgery, back pain (lower back pain, sciatica, hernia), arthritis, cervical pain, osteoporosis. The exercises can be divided into four macro categories depending on the problem to be solved and can affect muscle tone, joint mobility and balance, engine pattern recovery or recovery of athletic performance.
One last aspect concerns the temperature, which in rehabilitation pools should be around 35 degrees, hence higher than traditional pools. This is to increase vascularization of the tissues, their oxygenation and vasodilation.