aquatic therapy for brain injury
Aquatic therapy with video-aided feedback

Aquatic therapy or water-based therapy can be very helpful for people with brain injuries.

Acquired brain injuries can often cause a dramatic effect on a person’s balance, gait, strength and flexibility.  These types of injuries can also cause muscle weakness, making it that much more difficult to exercise those muscles in order to regain strength. Aquatic therapy is a great way to build strength.

In any pool the buoyancy of water helps patients in multiple ways.

  • The weight bearing load is reduced up to 90% depending on the water depth
  • The water supports joints and muscles, helping to improve balance
  • It’s easier to perform movements that a patient may not be able to complete on land

At the same time water increases resistance. This helps increase muscle strength and works to increase muscle and heart endurance. By stabilizing the body’s core with water, patients are given the perfect environment to work on balance, and re-educate the muscles that have become weakened.

A long history of aquatic therapy includes various treatments including (but not limited to) Ai Chi, which is a martial arts derived technique that works on arms, legs and core muscles, improving flexibility and stability overall.  Bad Ragaz Ring Method, (named for a town in Switzerland where it was created) has the patient floating on their back, suspended with floats.  The therapist may have them move their limbs through the water either by themselves or with assistance in order to work on reducing tight muscles.

Pate’s therapeutic pool allows the therapist to control the water depth in order to increase or decrease the buoyancy, making it easier or more difficult for the patient to work on any activity. Jets can be used to strategically increase resistance as people progress through their therapy.

The pool is equipped with a treadmill that is a wonderful way to work on gait.  Front and side view cameras with TV monitors give the therapist a chance to give the patient immediate feedback while they are working on their gait technique.

Often in this environment patients can walk and work without support and gain stability overall, long before they may be able to achieve this on land.  Gaining this kind of success in the pool can boost a patient’s confidence tremendously which may help improve their outcome and their overall well being.

Benefits:

  • One on one instruction
  • Soothing water and lessened distractions
  • Lowered anxiety
  • Deep breathing work
  • Cardiovascular exercise

The  ultimate goal of aquatic therapy is to carry-over gains in the water to dry land.

💡 Download an in-depth article by Pate’s Patty Lefrak

Our Brinlee Creek Ranch offers aquatic therapy.

At our Whitley Place rehabilitation location, physical therapists take to the water for small-group  (4-5 patients) exercise sessions once a week. The pool has a resisted walking channel that provides strengthening, balance/coordination and endurance benefits.

Patients spend approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in the pool. The Keller Pointe facility is a quick seven minute drive from Whitley Place and includes wheelchair accessible entrances including a lift chair.

 

Find out more now.

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