The Life Aquatica

The Life Aquatica – With Matt Thomas

Hydrotherapy has longed been used to aid aches and pains of the body. Historically various forms have been used in the ancient Egyption, Greece and Roman Civilisations. Hippopcrates, one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine and aptly referred to as the “father of medicine”, prescribed bathing in spring water for sickness. Through the ages hydrotherapy continues to be one of the most effective ways to manage pain, aid mobility and improve health and well being, and continues to do so today.

So what happens to the body when exercising in water?? :

1)   Rise in Body Temperature: If at an appropriate temperature the body gains heat from the water and from muscular energy conversion during exercise.

2)   Increases Cardiac Function: Hydrostatic pressure increases cardiac output and increase central blood volume.

3)   Increased Peripheral Circulation: Blood vessels dilate at the body periphery due to heat.

4)   Increased Heart Rate: Due to exercise and rise in temperature.

5)   Decreased Blood Pressure: During immersion arteries dilate, which reduce resistance, and therefore a fall in blood pressure.

6)   Increased Respiratory Rate: Due to changes in metabolism and an increase demand for oxygen.

7)   Decreased Muscle Tone: Warming of the muscle  and due to hydrostatic pressure.

 

Ok, so lots of big words there, but how does that help my pain??

The therapeutic effects of hydrotherapy are well researched and shown below:

1)   Relief of Pain and Muscle Spasm

The warmth of muscle and the effects of buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure produce a relief of weight from painful areas and a feeling of weightlessness.

2)   Relaxation

Often it is difficult when in pain to move fluently on land, so once in the water they are at last able to move due to the support of buoyancy.

3)   Increased Range Of Movement

With reductions in pain and muscle spasm, allows greater movement. Hydrostatic pressure also helps to reduce swelling, much like wearing a brace.

4)   Muscle Strengthening

Weak muscles can be strengthened by using buoyancy to assist movement, then as a support and finally as a resistance.

5)   Improve Functional Activities

Due to the body feeling more weightless in water it can assist in improving the amount of weight placed on limbs. This is especially useful post surgery or injuries to allow early weight bearing, to get you back to full health faster.  Amazingly if your head and neck are out of the water 90% of your body weight is relieved.

6)   Improved Balance and Coordination

Due to support of the body there is a longer reaction time to loss of balance. If you feel unsteady on your feet, hydrotherapy is fantastic to getting your confidence and balance back.

 

So as you can see if it’s good enough for the “father of medicine”, hydrotherapy is great way to get moving, get healthy and feel better.

So how to get involved?

 

Our brand new practice at Life Ready Physio Mt Lawley is within the Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre and is running classes now. For more information call 9276 6155, or further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at adminmtlawley@lifereadyphysio.com.au

 

Matt Thomas

Physiotherapist