Aquatic therapy, hydrotherapy, or hot-water physiotherapy are all similar terms for describing an extremely practical training and therapeutic platform; however, before going into specific details on physical and physiological beneficial effects, I want to discuss the patients’ and participants’ experiences, the psychological element involved in water treatment or training.
The Effect of Hot Water
For therapeutic purposes, the water warmth is set to 35-37C/ 95-99F to resemble the average internal human body temperature range. It creates complete synchrony of the body, the mind, and the water. Patients described flying and floating sensations during the treatment. In California and other places, the therapy is practiced with no clothes on, again, to enhance the experience and harmony with water.
In chronic conditions, or any other physical injuries, for patients who are unable to walk on land and bear their weight properly, in the water the story is different. Allowing patients to witness improvement soon at the beginning of the therapy can be invaluable in improving the mental component in the rehabilitation process. Thus, along with the extraordinary sensation of being in hot water and the treatment provided by the physiotherapist or the aquatic therapist, aqua therapy is one the most reliable and safe therapeutic and training platforms.
Water therapists are highly trained practitioners who provide physical rehabilitation and exercise training under hot water conditions. The water environment allows the therapist to go beyond the normal range of motion compared to land-based treatments, and the risks of injuries are remarkably low in the water. Similar to a clinical land setting, treating the patient while positioned supine on the back can also be achieved in the water with floating aids attached to the neck and leg area.
In this method, the therapist has full access to reach and manipulate multiple body areas. In addition, the therapist can perform highly effective stretches, maneuvers, and various exercises without worrying too much about injuring or causing further damage to patients. In general, under the water, we can produce similar training and therapeutic results. For example, treatments can be very intense and tiring such that the therapist may need to request patients to sit poolside for 2-5 minutes until feeling better. The hydrotherapy program is suited for everyone in any physical and mental condition.
In a group setting, the purpose is to increase physical fitness characteristics such as balance, strength, and aerobic. In general, water group classes mimic land-based training with similar exercises using standard fitness equipment tailored for water use. Hence, health and fitness benefits can be experienced along with the beneficial effects of the social part of being in a group.
Training in the water is also used to obtain high-performance results. Cristiano Ronaldo and many other professional athletes and teams have adopted this method. However, when the goal of the training is not therapeutic, the water temperature should be set to 23-29c/ 73-84F. Treadmills and water bicycles are useful tools to add to a training pool. Particularly, for professional athletes whose performance is dependent on overall health and fitness, a method like water training is highly efficient due to the reduced risk of injuries.