Owner Insights into Creating a Successful PT Practice with Aquatics
We spent some time talking with Joan Arieta, DPT and owner of Alhambra Valley Physical Therapy in Pleasant Hill, California. For years they’ve been helping patients heal in Constra Costa County with their amazing aquatics program.
Joan shared with us ways they utilize their new HydroWorx 500 Series and how they market their aquatics program.
HydroWorx: How do you utilize the HydroWorx 500 Series to treat your patients?
Joan: We use it a lot for correcting gait dysfunction and postural issues. We see many patients with extreme joint pain. In the water, however, this pain is significantly less, or gone altogether. These patients are able to start using the musculature around the joints in the proper way, gain strength and then carry this improved functionality over to land.
HydroWorx: How has the camera system in conjunction with the therapy pool affected your care delivery?
Joan: We have two above water cameras, two underwater cameras and a flat screen monitor that give us and our patients immediate feedback. Many times, people are not aware that they have incorrect posture. When they can see themselves on camera and see their posturing, they understand what upright really feels and looks like. Numerous patients walking in forward flexion think they are fully upright until they see themselves walking, unassisted, on camera
HydroWorx: How important would you say your aquatics program is to your practice?
Joan: First of all, from a marketing standpoint, we’re the only people in Contra Costa County that has an underwater treadmill. And physicians know that if they have a patient that’s limited weight bearing, that they can send them to us and the patient can exercise “crutch free.” This way, the patients don’t develop any of those bad habits and patterns that develop with the overuse of upper extremities trying to unload your legs. So the treadmill is very important to our practice and drives many referrals our way.
HydroWorx: What would you tell people who are investing in an underwater treadmill pool and looking to market their aquatics program?
Joan: When we invested in our HydroWorx pool, we originally sent a letter out to about 100 orthopedic surgeons, inviting them to an after-hours event at our clinic to kind of introduce them to our clinic. This was not effective for us. Later we learned that personal visits to their offices were much more effective. Building relationships with them on a one-on-one basis worked wonders. Our aquatics program has been built by word of mouth through doctors and patients. And now we receive many referrals every month from the biggest providers in town. We stay extremely busy.
HydroWorx: Any last words about aquatic therapy?
Joan: Well, aquatic therapy is a great transitional environment. I think it sometimes gets a bad reputation because people just envision patients moving around in the water with umbrella drinks, as a social event. But the HydroWorx pool makes it a dynamic working environment, so it changes the whole perspective of what aquatic therapy is and can be. It’s not just making it easier for the patient to move; it’s making function easier. It’s facilitating function, and it’s a great way to get people mobile—first in water, then transitioning that function to land. It’s really done wonders for our patients.
Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of aquatic therapy? Download our free tipsheet, “Five Ways Aquatic Therapy Impacts Rehabilitation” today>>
Alhambra Valley Physical Therapy is a small, outpatient neurological and orthopedic family practice clinic located in Pleasant Hill, CA that offers evaluation and treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular system dysfunctions. Our therapeutic goals are pain relief and restoration of proper biomechanics, movement, and function through evidence-based practice. All treatments are individualized to the specific needs of the patient, and treatments typically consist of biweekly, hour-long sessions.
The therapists have expertise in the examination of musculoskeletal and neurological impairments, and are trained to improve and restore movement and function through manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, physical agents, and specialize in aquatic therapy programs with our state-of-the-art HydroWorx 500 series indoor pool with underwater treadmill.