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The Advantages of Anti-Gravity Rehab Underwater

The Advantages of Anti-Gravity Rehab Underwater

HydroWorx therapy pools provide the equivalent of a zero-gravity environment, ideal for patients with limitations or special considerations that prohibit land-based exercise but with the added benefits of water. 

Physical therapists and athletic trainers both rely on underwater anti-gravity treadmill training in an aquatic therapy pool to unweight patients and athletes while also tapping into the natural healing properties of warm water. The HydroWorx line of products is ideal for a number of clinical applications in which creating a low-gravity, low-impact environment can contribute to positive patient outcomes. 

Benefits of Exercise on an Underwater Zero-Gravity Treadmill

Low-impact exercise on an underwater, no-gravity treadmill has a number of significant benefits clinicians can take advantage of: 

  • Increased buoyancy: The zero-gravity environment of an aquatic therapy pool can support between 20-100% of a patient’s body weight depending on the level of immersion — the more of a patient’s body that is submerged, the less they’ll feel the effects of their weight as they exercise. The moveable floors that come standard on HydroWorx 2000 and 1200 Series pools make it easy for clinicians to adjust the amount of buoyancy as a patient progresses.
  • Decreased pressure on joints: Low-gravity aquatic exercise decreases pressure on joints, helping patients move in a pain-free environment. The decreased gravity combined with the warmth of the water creates an increased range of motion that allows patients and athletes to perform exercises they may not be able to do comfortably on land.
  • Building muscle strength and endurance: Athletes rely on underwater low-gravity treadmill training to build endurance without the risk of injury while also increasing lean muscle mass by working against the natural viscosity of the water. 
  • Preventing falls and injuries: The increased buoyancy when exercising on an underwater treadmill makes it easy for children and aging adults to exercise, gain strength and practice movements in multiple planes of motion without the risk of falls.
  • Challenging all planes of motion: Patients and athletes working on an underwater treadmill can work in all planes of motion to address core strength, joint mobility, balance and change of direction speed. 
  • Enhanced recovery: Rehabilitation using underwater treadmills has been proven to improve the healing process of the musculoskeletal system while enhancing cardiorespiratory fitness. Due to minimal physical impact on the joints, underwater anti-gravity treadmills provide partial body-weight support and positive air pressure to lower impact forces. As a result, patients can experience minimized discomfort and reduced risk of muscle atrophy.

Underwater Anti-Gravity Treadmill Training Applications

The benefits of underwater anti-gravity treadmill training lend themselves to a variety of clinical applications: 

  • Rehab: Post-surgery and post-injury patients who cannot bear weight independently can benefit from zero-gravity underwater treadmill exercise. Recovery time and overall soreness after ACL surgery have been clinically proven to be reduced by regular exercise in an underwater therapy pool. Compared to standard rehabilitation, zero-gravity rehab improves strength and muscle activity preservation in patients with hip fracture injuries.
  • Fitness: Muscle strength, cardiovascular function, flexibility and endurance are positively impacted by exercise on an underwater treadmill. Elite athletes can use the increased buoyancy of an underwater environment to push themselves in a low-impact environment without fear of injury. 
  • Obesity: Many patients with obesity have trouble supporting their weight when attempting to exercise. The use of underwater anti-gravity treadmills minimizes this difficulty by reducing body weight by anywhere from 20%-100%. Clinical studies have demonstrated that the reduction of weight-bearing stress on the body can improve a patient’s ability to perform certain joint actions, enhancing their ability to exercise. Underwater exercise can also improve body composition, cardiovascular fitness and dyslipidemia. 

Research Studies and Recommended Exercises

We’ve compiled several research studies supporting the benefits of exercise on a zero-gravity underwater treadmill — visit our research library and view a selection of our clinical, peer-reviewed findings in detail. We also have a collection of online aquatic therapy videos documenting case studies and outlining recommended exercise protocols for patients with a variety of ailments.

The construction-free HydroWorx 300 Series offers all of the benefits of anti-gravity water therapy in a small footprint of space. The 300 Series makes aquatic therapy and its restorative values available to nearly any physical therapy clinic, retirement community or athletic facility in the world. No construction is required, and it can fit through a 36-inch door. Thanks to its compact size, you can provide aquatic therapy to your patients next to fitness equipment, a static pool or land-based therapy equipment for comprehensive treatment.

Contact HydroWorx to Add a Hydrotherapy Pool to Your Facility

Anti-gravity hydrotherapy equipment can serve a wide range of patient needs. Whether you work in the senior living, sports medicine, military rehabilitation or health care industries, hydrotherapy water treatment provides a unique environment to jump-start recovery. At HydroWorx, we’re committed to helping our customers install world-class aquatic wellness pools. 

If you’re considering adding a zero-gravity pool to your facility or wellness center, our team can assist you in choosing the solution and setup that’s right for you. Connect with us to learn more about how HydroWorx can help you provide a better experience for your athletes and patients.

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