Hydrotherapy Helps Relieve Aches and Pains
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What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is a huge topic, one that covers hydration, colon hydrotherapy, hot-cold water perfusion, whirlpools and many others. Mauer is utilizing an active form of hydrotherapy, by exercising his legs in water. Because water will reduce body weight by as much as 80-90% through buoyancy, the weight reduction causes less strain on joints and muscles that need strengthening.
For this reason, water aerobics has caught on in a big way among the elderly, and is becoming the rage for physical therapists and the injured who want to get back in the game sooner. In water aerobics, the person twists, kicks, treads and even jumps in the water. The weight load is lightened, allowing a person to work their muscles and get a great cardiovascular workout without the impact.
The aquatic treadmill
Minnesota Twins Catcher, Joe Mauer was American League Most Valuable Player in 2009. The catcher also had a bilateral leg weakness, which forced him to miss some games over the next couple of years. He rehabilitated himself using a special type of hydrotherapy. .Joe Mauer found one of the newest forms of hydrotherapy: the aquatic treadmill.
What is the aquatic treadmill? The aquatic treadmill sits in the water in the shallow end of the pool, where the person can water or run as fast as they can on it. It is quite amazing, because the combination of the treadmill and buoyancy allows for a full stride run. And because of the added resistance provided by the water, the hamstrings and gluts work harder to push against the water using the underwater treadmill.
The newest rage for home hydrotherapy fans is the stationary swim spa. These self-contained mini-pools are a low-cost option to putting in your own pool, and they double as whirlpools. The swim spa allows a person to swim in place with a jet of water that sprays back at the swimmer, allowing for full-speed swimming within a 10-15 foot length of pool.
Another form of water therapy is flotation therapy. Flotation therapy can help relieve anxiety and improve sleep.
Another type of water therapy I will call water walking. Walking in a cold stream or in the shallow ocean at the beach can be used as hydrotherapy for sore muscles or joints. I have personally used this type of therapy after a surfing injury. It helped the injury heal faster. This is because I didn’t have to put full weight on the injury, yet I was still able to achieve full motion. To implement this form of therapy, simply find a flat stretch of beach where you can walk through the water at about knee-deep. You can begin in ankle-deep water and graduate to deeper water.
Now just walk though the water by pushing your legs through the water surface. Use your hips to push your legs and feel the burn in your buns, hips and quads after about 200 yards. A great workout too!
Hydrotherapy outside also helps us get the sunlight we need to help reduce anxiety and mood swings.
More descriptions for the myriad of other forms of hydrotherapy can be found in this book: