Water therapy makes a big splash for patients, according to experts at Mizzou Therapy Services.
“Most people love it,” said Becky Edwards, MPT, MHA, clinical supervisor of Mizzou Therapy Services-Business Loop. “They say the pool is the only place they can exercise without having a lot of pain.”
Edwards and her staff of physical and occupational therapists provide therapy for adults who live with chronic pain, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, and adults who are recovering from an injury or surgery.
Therapists at Children’s Hospital Therapy Center also see benefits for their water therapy patients. Children with autism, developmental delays and cerebral palsy can improve their motor skills through water therapy sessions, said Kim Dohm, OTR, clinical supervisor of the pediatric therapy clinic.
“The water provides resistance, weightlessness and additional sensory input for patients,” Dohm said. “The water puts equal amount of pressure on the body and challenges balance and equilibrium responses. It gives kids more input into their body, and they’re able to improve their hand-and-eye coordination.”
Water therapy is typically used in conjunction with land-based physical therapy. Dohm said that patients are first evaluated on land, undergo weekly water therapy sessions for eight to 10 weeks and then take a water break, practicing the skills they developed on land for eight to 10 weeks before returning to the pool.
Adult and pediatric patients undergo water therapy in Rusk Rehabilitation Center’s therapy pool. The pool features ramps, chairs, benches, steps and offers different depths of water, up to nine feet. The water is kept at a warm 92 degrees, and water jets help provide pain relief and resistance. Therapists lead their patients in exercises. Safety devices include cord pulls, floatation devices and neck rings for pediatric patients.
Aquatic therapy is one of several types of specialized therapy services offered at Mizzou Therapy Services clinics. To learn about other types of advanced and specialized therapy services, please visit http://www.muhealth.org/services/therapy/specialty/.
For more information about water therapy for children, please contact the Children’s Hospital Therapy Center at 573-882-7350. For more information about water therapy for adults, please contact Mizzou Therapy Services at 573-884-2642.