Frequently Asked questions about Aquatic therapy ?

Q: Is it necessary to know how to swim for aquatic therapy?

A: It is not necessary to know how to swim, during therapy you will be supported by your therapist or floats.


Q: Can patients without bladder control/ with a catheter participate in aquatic therapy?

A: Patients without bladder control must empty their bladder before aquatic therapy session. In order to participate, patients using a catheter must obtain prior permission from their physician. During therapy, the catheter must be blocked. Due to risk of infection, some public pools might not permit patients with a catheter to enter the pool.


Q: Can patients with bedsore/ open wounds receive aquatic therapy?

A: Yes, patients with bedsore/ open wounds can participate in aquatic therapy after the application of a wet dressing (specialized dressing which prevents water going into the wound). Permission from your physician or surgeon is required before coming for therapy. Risk – there are chances of cross infection and delayed wound healing in some cases if proper precaution is not followed.


Q: Do I need to wear a swimming costume or can I come in regular shorts?

A: Everyone who enters the pool is required to wear a swimming costume. Men shorts and T shirt, Women can use short length or full body costumes. Women or men with long hair are required to wear swimming cap during pool sessions. (It is advised to cover body in order to prevent suntan)


Q: How many sessions do I need to take?

A: There is no right answer to this question. It depends on multiple factors such as type/stage/progression of disease, severity/level of injury, neuroplasticity and learning ability of patient, compliance to therapy, training intensity and frequency of therapy.
10- 15 sessions is recommended in order to evaluate the rate of change and the effect/intensity of therapy. Depending on the results, more sessions may be necessary.


Q: Will aquatic therapy benefit me?

A: Aquatic therapy is one of the modalities of physiotherapy, if you need/are referred to physiotherapy then aquatic therapy will be beneficial as well. Compared to physiotherapy on land, it is easier to move in the water and exercises in water are more fun. You will be assessed on land first to find your impairment, activity and participation restriction. Based on the assessment your therapist will decide if you need aquatic therapy or not. Most of the time a combination of land and aquatic based exercises are beneficial for patients for strengthening, postural/trunk control, balance and gait training.


Q: Can a patient with cardiovascular diseases have aquatic therapy?

A: Cardiovascular disease is not a contraindication but a precaution.  Patients with poor cardiovascular capacity, lower ejection fraction, under active/unstable angina should not attend aquatic therapy. When a body is immersed in water changes in blood pressure occur, patients with unstable hypertension of hypotension should to be monitored.


Q: Will I be taught/allowed to do exercises on my own in the pool during/after my aquatic therapy session?

A: Yes, after receiving appropriate training from your aquatic therapist and you are safe to perform exercises by yourself.  Make sure that a life guard is on duty and aware of you when exercising alone.


Q: How should I prepare myself for aquatic therapy?

A: Please note the following:

  • Before aquatic therapy do not eat heavy food, light food or snacks are advised.
    After a long session you might feel tired and hungry, therefore it is advised to bring a snack.
  • Keep well hydrated: Drink water before/during and after therapy.
  • Empty bladder and bowel before therapy.
  • Cover wounds with wet dressing before therapy.
  • Take bath/shower before entering the pool.
  • Check physical fitness and cardio vascular capacity, ability to tolerate exercises in water.
  • It is advised to observe other patients’ treatment session to get an overall idea about the therapy in water.
  • Bring moisturizer for use after pool session. Do not apply moisturizer before therapy otherwise it will be difficult for the therapist to maintain grip.
  • Bring essential showering toiletries and a spare set of clothes (if necessary bring a person/aid for assistance before and after session).


Q: Are there any changes that need to be observed/reported after completing the session?

A: Please report the following after the session:

  • How was the therapy experience?
  • How did you feel during and post session?
  • Did you notice any positive changes after the session?
    For example: increased range of motion, strength, endurance, posture and movement
  • Did you notice any change in your functional ability, level of assistance or independence?
  • Presence of any adverse reactions to water or worsening of your present symptoms?
  • These issues may come up during the session as well, please report them to your therapist.
  • Are you getting any muscle cramps or delayed onset of muscle soreness? If so, please report to your therapist. He/she will advise you on what to do about it.


Whom to contact for aquatic therapy?

Ans -Dr. Gajanan Bhalerao, 9822623701. Sancheti hospital has started aquatic therapy in association with champion Aquatic club at Nande swimming pool Balgandharv, J M road, Pune.

Timing – 10.30am – 12.30pm

Published by GajananBhalerao

DR. GAJANAN BHALERAO (PT) MPTh Neuro, NDT Adult (USA), Motor relearning (Australia), Aquatic therapist (Switzerland). Associate professor at Sancheti Institute College of physiotherapy, Shivajinagar, Pune. Founder Director of "School of neuro rehab and aquatic therapy" , speciality centre for neuro rehabilitation of stroke, brain and spinal cord injury. Mobile : 9822623701,

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