Aquatic Therapy and Hydrotherapy: Benefits & Treatments

Why Aquatherapy and Hydrotherapy?

Aqua therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is an age-old therapeutic approach involving engaging in water exercises and activities to facilitate rehabilitation and recovery. The properties of water, including buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, viscosity, and surface tension, are unique. They help improve movement, balance, strength, and resistance. Further, these elements also help reduce pain and edema. Hence performing exercises that use these advantages helps the individual recover quickly. Additionally, since the effort required for each water exercise is less, it can be a space for relaxation.

Aquatherapy & Hydrotherapy Indications

Based on its benefits, several factors may indicate the need for aqua therapy, including

  1. Limited range of motion 
  2. Pain
  3. Sensory disorders
  4. Neurological conditions
  5. Developmental disorders
  6. Weakness
  7. Poor motor coordination 
  8. Spatial issues
  9. Balance problems 
  10. Respiratory conditions 
  11. Circulatory problems
  12. Mental health conditions (stress, depression)
  13. Cardiac diseases
  14. Osteoporosis 
  15. Orthopedic injuries
  16. Arthritis 
  17. Prenatal problems 

These conditions and many more can be treated effectively with aqua therapy. However, based on the severity seeking an inpatient consultation is essential before choosing the course of treatment. 

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy and Hydrotherapy Treatment

Research suggests that aqua therapy is an excellent alternative to other treatment modalities that may be intense. This is one of the benefits among many others that help the individual heal and recover. 

Mental Health Benefits

Practicing exercises in the water effectively relax the body and produce positive changes in one's mental health. Warm water aqua therapy helps release endorphins that are natural stress busters, especially for those struggling with anxiety, depression, self-esteem issues, sleep problems, mood swings, and other psychological disorders. 

Physical Health Benefits

Since aqua therapy was discovered to reduce pain, several other physiological benefits were also found. It helps increase the range of motion, reduce spasms, strengthen weak muscles, improve circulation, and minimize the risk of future injuries. Based on the condition, additional neurological and musculoskeletal aspects can be enhanced through aqua therapy. 

Emotional Benefits

Along with positive changes linked to depression and anxiety, aqua therapy is also known to rejuvenate the individual. It helps diminish fatigue, increase bodily awareness, and relax the body and the mind. In addition to relaxation, practicing exercises in the water adds an element of fun. Finally, since this therapy helps the individual attain a speedy recovery, it also greatly improves their confidence. 

Treatments and Applications

Based on its several properties, the treatment and application of aqua therapy may look different. The varying intensities of the distressing symptoms also determine this. 


The principle of hydrostatic pressure plays a huge role in treating cardiopulmonary issues. It helps lower your resting heart rate, redistribute blood volume, strengthen heart muscles, and increase cardiac output. Common cardiopulmonary issues that are treated with aqua therapy include-

  • Heart failure
  • Angina 
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Following a Myocardial infarction 
  • Following a heart or lung surgery


In aqua therapy, the buoyancy effect of water helps reduce the weight or pressure exerted on the joints, muscles, and bones. Since exercises are performed in warm water, the temperature also reduces tension, pain, and inflammation. Finally, the various techniques used in aqua therapy facilitate motor coordination, balance, mobility, and general physical strength. 

Goals and Indications for Aquatic Exercises

Research indicates that aqua therapy can be administered for several types of illnesses or conditions, including- 

  • Chronic pain- the properties of aqua therapy help reduce pain by promoting movement and increasing muscle length, strength, and control. 
  • Neurological- Aqua therapy helps reduce muscle spasms, especially post-accident conditions. 
  • Cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions- For elders, aqua therapy, plays a major role in improving heart health. It enhances cardiopulmonary endurance and reduces the risk of respiratory diseases. 
  • Musculoskeletal injuries- Aqua therapy can effectively relax muscles, improve circulation, and enhance balance and strength for sports-related or trauma-related conditions. 
  • Post-surgery- After abdominal, back, or lower limb surgery, aqua therapy helps improve mobility and strength. 
  • Pediatric- Neurological, developmental, or orthopedic conditions can be effectively treated by aqua therapy compared to other intense physiotherapy techniques. 

While treating a wide range of conditions, our goal as specialists is to improve your physical and mental health. 

When Hydrotherapy Isn't Right: Understanding Contraindications

While aqua therapy can be used to treat multiple conditions, there are a few that may be worsened by its techniques, including- 

  • Diabetes 
  • Balance disorders 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Cold 
  • Influenza
  • Fever 
  • Skin conditions 
  • Chemical allergies 
  • Incontinence 
  • Labyrinthitis 
  • Contagious disorders 
  • Open wounds 
  • Hepatitis 
  • Tracheotomy 
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Recent surgery 

Hence before one begins therapy, seek a clinical consultation and determine a treatment plan with your medical professional for a smooth recovery. 

Research-backed Techniques

According to research, specific aqua therapy techniques utilize water properties to alleviate pain and improve one's physical functioning. The prominent techniques include 

  • Ai Chi- This technique aims to help with resistance training in water. Derived from tai chi chuan and qigong, Ai Chi uses 19 movements to relax and strengthen the body. Further, its medicative effects help improve diaphragmatic breathing. 
  • Burdenko method- This method combines both land and water exercises to promote smooth rehabilitation. Traditional exercises and stretches help reduce joint and muscle tension. 
  • Halliwick concept- This technique aims to enhance balance and stability. It was specifically designed for people with disabilities. The technique follows a 10-step routine that targets motor, mental adjustment, and rotation control. 
  • Water jogging- Compared to the other techniques, this is a simple exercise practiced with a floatation device. Jogging with the legs and arms assisted by special shoes, flotation belts, and weights help improve balance and cardiovascular fitness. 
  • Watsu- This technique is one of the gentlest forms of aqua therapy. The expert guides the client in the water while administering massages, stretches, and more. The technique takes place in warm water, which is especially beneficial for those recovering from surgeries or injuries. 

Explore The Power of Water With Aquatic Therapy & Hydrotherapy Treatment

The benefits of aqua therapy are not limited to alleviating pain but also play a major role in improving one's mental well-being. Our customizable care plans focus on meeting your unique needs and improving the quality of your life. Finally, with our team of skilled experts trained in different techniques of aqua therapy, you can now avail yourself of its benefits for various physiological conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is aquatic therapy?

Aquatic therapy is a form of physiotherapy conducted in a water-based environment. The properties of water, including hydrostatic pressure, buoyancy, viscosity, and more, help aid recovery and rehabilitation. 

What are the benefits of aquatic therapy?

There are several benefits of aquatic therapy, including-

  • Reducing pain 
  • Reliving tension and inflammation
  • Improving balance 
  • Enhancing circulation 
  • Alleviating stress 

What are the applications of aquatic therapy?

Our experts suggest that aqua therapy can be applied for several conditions, including- 

  • Chronic pain 
  • Weakness
  • Balance issues 
  • Sports injuries 
  • Arthritis 
  • Developmental disorders 
  • Neurological disorders 
  • Spatial issues 
  • Poor motor coordination 
  • Prenatal problems