Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy is a highly effective treatment method for orthopedic and neurologic conditions. When your body is supported by the buoyancy of water, physical stress is reduced, flexibility and function increase, relaxation is greatly enhanced, and recovery is more complete. Our Aquatic manual therapies, performed in 92-degree warmth, educate you in principles of posture and alignment and promote muscle balance and proper joint function.

In addition, aquatic cardiovascular exercise and strength training result in increased range of motion and strength, decreased pain, and improved balance and posture. Moving through the water in any position, you can feel the flow of the element against your skin, making you feel light, free, even playful.

Once you’ve maximized the benefits of our warm-water aquatic therapy, we can continue to supervise your progress in a pool of your choice.

Aquatic Therapy for Back Pain

By Healing Bridge Physical Therapy Staff

From Cascade Business News Magazine

Do you have a nagging back injury? Your solution may be as close as the nearby swimming pool. Water immersion and exercise have been used to treat back pain around the world for centuries. Its use has been recorded historically at least as far back as Greek and Roman times; Hippocrates used warm water soaking to treat his patients with painful conditions. Research has shown that some of the benefits of aquatic therapy include improved sleep, independence with personal care, work capacity, and relaxation as well as decreased pain. Following are some answers to common questions about this very beneficial form of treatment.

” What makes exercising in the water different than on land?

On land our bodies are subject to the compressing force of gravity. In the pool our bodies are supported by buoyancy, we’re basically weightless. Water decreases the amount of weight coming down on our spine, hips, knees and ankles and therefore increases comfort at these joints. Standing in the water we can also take advantage of the surrounding resistance in all directions to work the body’s muscles with every movement.

” How does aquatic therapy specifically benefit someone with back pain?

People who suffer with back pain frequently fall into a vicious cycle of compression on the spinal nerves and tightening of the surrounding muscles. Not only does this cause pain when simply sitting and standing but it can prevent a person from participating in their regular exercise routine. In the pool, people experience less compression on the nerves and their muscles can relax. Being in water allows a person to exercise without increasing pain, and can often be a first step in getting back to normal pain-free activity

” How is aquatic therapy different from swimming?

Swimming is wonderful exercise and benefits the body in many ways. However, swimming is usually for cardiovascular conditioning, mainly benefitting the heart and lungs. Swimming is generally about efficiency and speed. This may not be optimal for spinal therapy, as resistance is used to increase the strengthening or flexibility benefits. The upright position of water exercise


From  Healing Bridge Physical Therapy

Winter 2002 Newsletter

Many of our patients receive treatment in the relaxing waters of our therapy pool. Research has shown that aquatic therapy decreases pain and need for pain medications, increases sleep hours, improves independence with personal care and work capacity, and increases relaxation. Water immersion and exercise has been used to treat ailments in cultures around the world for centuries. Its use has been recorded back to Greek and Roman times; Hippocrates commonly used warm water soaking to treat his rheumatism patients.

What is it about the water that allows you to experience less pain and more movement? Water’s buoyancy counteracts the downward force of gravity, providing a sense of weightlessness, translating into less pressure on your joints. Water maintains body temperature better than air, and warm water can stimulate the release of endorphins, your body’s natural pain killers. Water’s resistance provides the opportunity for strengthening, and the faster you move, the more resistance you get, therefore treatment can be individualized at the appropriate intensity.

Aquatic therapy treatment at Healing Bridge is multifaceted. Our one-on-one approach to patient care, enhanced by our commitment to hands–on manual techniques, differentiates us from other clinics or just soaking in a hot tub. In addition to using the aquatic environment for stretching, strengthening, cardiovascular conditioning, and traction, we specialize in Watsu and Bad Ragaz.

Watsu is a form of aquatic bodywork that uses the flow and buoyancy of water to facilitate stretching and freedom of movement, decreased pain, increased function, and a sense of well being. Bad Ragaz (pronounced baad r’gaaz) is another hands-on treatment which uses the pressure of water to facilitate stretching, resistance and stabilization with a progression towards the client’s active participation. Both techniques are helpful for a variety of limitations, and are particularly beneficial for enhancing relaxation and gentle movement beyond pre-set limitations.

We encourage folks to utilize aquatic swim programs either through their introduction to water during physical therapy, or by getting involved in one of the many excellent aquatic classes at Juniper Swim and Fitness Center. The benefits are endless, and the sense of freedom

movement is so enjoyable, some say it’s addicting. Please feel free to discuss with your therapist if and what type of aquatic therapy might be beneficial for you. We look forward to seeing you in the pool!


From  Healing Bridge Physical Therapy

Summer 2002 Newsletter

“When you’re done with your Aquatic session, you will have exercised, stretched and received some relaxation — which you might have done on land, but not all at the same time!”

“But I don’t live in the water” is a common statement by patients wondering why they should try aquatic physical therapy. For the water babies out there, aquatic therapy makes perfect sense. But if you are unfamiliar with, or a bit hesitant about water, you may wonder how activities in the pool can help you on the land – where you spend all of your time.

The truth is, many activities in the water can enhance your progress and healing, especially in the following areas:

Movement Awareness

Being in the water is a novel “new” environment for most people. This tends to increase your awareness of everyday movement patterns that may be contributing to your pain or limitations. The water resistance also forces you to “slow down” and re-examine habitual ways of moving.


Water provides as much as 64 times the resistance of air, depending upon your speed of movement. This allows for excellent strengthening benefits that can be carried over into the land world


The hydrostatic pressure of water can stimulate nerve endings and improve blood flow to injured areas, much like a good massage can.

Stretching and Range of Motion

The buoyancy of water supports your joints and limbs, making stretching easier and more gentle to perform. Range of motion can be reached without feeling “forced” or as painful.


The warmth of our 93 degree pool helps to relax tight muscles and improve circulation, which can improve a sense of well being. The sense of “play” many people associate with the water is also vitally important for your overall well-being.

The benefits of aquatic therapy are endless, and we enjoy integrating them into your comprehensive therapy program. Ask your therapist or doctor if aquatic therapy is appropriate for you, and let’s have a SPLASH in the pool!

“ Be not the slave of your own past- plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with self-respect, with new power, with an advanced experience, that shall explain and overlook the old. Ralph Waldo Emerson