Old ManOld Ladies

An aquatic environment promotes overall rehabilitation and physical fitness for people of all ages, but is especially beneficial to the aging population. Exercise and therapy are far less painful in warm water than on land and can often be a great motivator to those residents who will not agree to traditional exercise program! Water’s natural properties eliminate the amount of stress a person is bearing on their joints, reduces joint inflammation and improves circulation. Basic aquatic principles of buoyancy, resistance and hydrostatic pressure are applied to the biomechanics of movement patterns.

Medical conditions which may benefit from aquatic therapy include but are not limited to:

  • Orthopedic conditions including fractures, joint replacement, amputations and soft tissue injuries
  • Neurological conditions including stroke, brain injury and Parkinson’s disease
  • Pain conditions and back injuries
  • Debility due to medical complications and /or disuse, atrophy
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

Providing a “lower pain and enjoyable method” of wellness, exercise and rehab can significantly enhance the residents’ quality of life in our SNF and ALF settings.

Goals for the use Aquatic Therapy in Physical and Occupational Therapy include:

  • Improvement of cardiopulmonary fitness
  • Improvement in range of motion and muscle strength
  • Improvement in gait
  • Improvement in posture
  • Decrease in pain
  • Decrease in abnormal muscle tone
  • Reduction in tactile defensiveness/hypersensitivity
  • Improvement in balance, reaction time and safety during ambulation
  • Improvement in flexibility

The healing properties of a warm water environment via aquatic therapy can enhance participation in Physical and Occupational Therapy treatments while encouraging optimal recovery.  It can help older adults maintain and/or regain functional independence and improve their outlook on life!!


Cherie Rowell

Director of Clinical Services

Functional Pathways