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Using Warm Water Therapy for Patient Morale

Using Warm Water Therapy for Patient Morale

Do you have patients who skip their physical therapy sessions or are frustrated with their rehabilitation program? Many times, patients who require physical therapy for an extended period of time or who experience a lot of pain with rehab stop showing up for appointments or get frustrated and demotivated by their progress.

Aquatic therapy can be used as a way to decrease cancellations and increase compliance with rehabilitation programs. Warm water therapy used in conjunction with land therapy can provide the needed morale boost to keep patients coming back.

Why Is Aquatic Therapy So Effective in Boosting Morale for Patients?

When pain is reduced and goals are being reached, patients and residents don’t like to cancel therapy or exercise sessions. In fact, many say they “wouldn’t miss it.” When hope seems lost for returning to a previous function, whether after surgery or just the natural processes of aging, they can see progress much earlier in the water. This provides healing for their mind as well as their body.

Robert P. Cusick, MD of Kansas Joint & Spine Institute in Wichita, KS, utilizes aquatic therapy with almost all of his total joint replacements because of the great results their practice has seen. He states that aquatic therapy helps speed up patients’ mobility, enabling them to become functional faster compared to dry-land training. He also noted that patients are less likely to dread, skip or cancel their appointments when they enjoy the sessions. Patients are so excited to go to therapy that they become disappointed when their program is complete. 

5 Warm Water Therapy Benefits

Aquatic therapy provides an overall more relaxing experience for rehabilitation compared to many land-based activities. The calming properties of water alone can make it more enjoyable for patients. Here are the top five ways that warm water therapy improves morale during patient rehabilitation morale:

  1. DecreaspainWhen physical therapy or exercise on land is painful, it requires a lot of willpower to continue. Pain is typically decreased in warm water, which makes sessions more enjoyable and less stressful. Reduced pain also enables patients to concentrate on making smooth, controlled movements with their muscles and joints. 
  2. Increasfunction: The buoyancy of the water allows joints and muscles to move more freely, increasing range of motion and improving function. The water pressure also helps reduce swelling in the body to create tissue relaxation. If a patient can accomplish something in the water that they can’t yet do on land, they see tangible progress and feel encouraged to keep going.
  3. Provide relaxation: Getting into the warm water is naturally relaxing. It can also help patients feel less like they’re rehabilitating an injury and more like they’re casually enjoying some physical activity. Once they’re in, most people enjoy their sessions. Adding a few pool “toys” never hurts!
  4. Improve mood: Aquatic therapy is proven to improve a patient’s mood and reduce anxiety symptoms. In this study, it’s noted that even the sensation of water on the skin can reduce stress and enhance mood. Additionally, water therapy creates a soothing effect by increasing the secretion of dopamine and beta-endorphins. Because improved mood can be a particularly motivating factor in exercise, patients may associate hydrotherapy sessions with positive emotions.
  5. Enhance balance and endurance: Whether your patient is recovering from a stress fracture or spinal cord injury, aquatic therapy can be more effective at improving balance than land-based exercises. Warm water therapy can help your patients gain motor coordination and strength, allowing them to maintain stability and move more independently.

Support Your Patients’ Recovery With Warm Water Therapy From HydroWorx

Rehabilitation programs are not one-size-fits-all. As a physical therapist or rehabilitation clinician, helping your patients reach their goals is your number one priority. Aquatic therapy can help you enhance their morale and motivate them to stay on track with their sessions. 

At HydroWorx, we’ve seen first-hand how beneficial water therapy technology can be for recovery, rehabilitation, conditioning and fitness. Learn about our product details by submitting our form — we’re ready to answer your questions! We also encourage you to learn more about how aquatic therapy impacts rehabilitation by downloading our tip sheet, “5 Ways Aquatic Therapy Impacts Rehabilitation.”

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