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3 Reasons Warm Water Therapy Increases Patient Morale

3 Reasons Warm Water Therapy Increases Patient Morale

HW-Garden-Spot-00033Do you have patients that 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 cancellation 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.

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,

“On a whole, the two main benefits I see with aquatic therapy from our practice are number one, patients get moving quicker and they become functional much more quickly than they do dry-land training and number two, the patients enjoy going to therapy. They don’t dread that, they don’t cancel, they don’t skip appointments. In fact, the opposite is true they want to go more than they are allowed to. In fact they dislike it when they have graduated from therapy. They dislike it because it’s so enjoyable for them. So, they become functional faster and they enjoy [rehab] much more with aquatic therapy. “

Why is aquatic therapy so effective in boosting morale for patients?

  1. Decreased pain – When physical therapy or exercise on land is painful, it requires a lot of will power to continue. In warm water, pain is typically decreased which makes sessions more enjoyable and less stressful.
  2. Increased function – The buoyancy of the water allows joints and muscles to move more freely, increasing range of motion and improving function. If a patient is able to accomplish something in the water that they can’t yet do on land, they see tangible progress and are encouraged.
  3. Relaxation and fun – Getting into the warm water is naturally relaxing and once they are in, most people enjoy their sessions. Adding a few pool “toys” never hurts!

Learn more about how aquatic therapy impacts rehabilitation by downloading our tip sheet, “5 Ways Aquatic Therapy Impacts Rehabilitation”>>


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