Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Outpatient Care

aquatic therapy, physical therapy, water therapy

When Missy Keiser tore ligaments in her ankle in 2009, it was an injury that just kept getting worse. First, she developed a blood clot and then reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which was painful and kept her from bearing weight on the affected leg. Her circulation was impaired and discoloration would occur whenever she would stand.

The Taylorville Memorial Hospital (TMH) aquatic therapy program proved to be a difference-maker for her health.

“Being in the water provided compression to the leg, which prevented the discoloration, improved circulation and allowed me to actually begin therapy to recover from my injury,” Missy said. “There is an electric chair at the pool that lowers you into and lifts you out of the water that was very useful in the beginning. With therapy, I was able to make progress to where I could eventually start doing things out of the water and make a full recovery.”

Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy that takes place in water, usually a temperature-regulated pool. It benefits people who have conditions related to pain, weakness, mobility or neurological issue. The treatment varies depending on the patient but may include strengthening, stretching, core stabilization, deep water traction and balance activities.

“Aquatic physical therapy may help patients who require a less stressful environment for exercise and treatment,” said Lindsay McGuire, manager of rehabilitation services for TMH. “The buoyancy and warmth of the water helps unload the joints and decrease pain. Plus, it is just a more fun and relaxed environment.”

aquatic therapy, physical therapy, water therapy

What to Know

  • Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants have completed additional training specific to exercise in an aquatic environment.
  • An initial evaluation is completed to determine if you can safely participate, obtain baseline measurements and identify goals for therapy.
  • A typical course of care for aquatic therapy is eight visits.
  • Patients who complete a course of care may progress to land-based therapy or be provided with an aquatic-based program to continue independently at a pool of their choice.

Memorial Health offers aquatic therapy at the following locations:

  • Memorial Therapy Care in Decatur (call 217-876-2655)
  • Memorial Therapy Care in Lincoln (call 217-605-5500)
  • Memorial Therapy Care in Springfield (call 217-862-0400)
  • TMH’s course of care takes place at the Christian County YMCA (call 217-707-5400).

Talk with your primary provider about seeking a referral. Or call the number for a location convenient to you to schedule an appointment or learn more.