“The Power of Aquatic Physical Therapy!”

 Myths and Facts about Aquatic Physical Therapy:


Myth #1: You have to be a good swimmer to do aquatic therapy

Fact #1: Aquatic therapy pools are between 4 – 4 ½  feet deep, which allows individuals to stand comfortably in the water without the need to tread water.


Myth #2: Aquatic therapy cannot help me translate to improved function on land.

Fact #2: Peer-reviewed research has demonstrated long term functional improvements in the ability to complete daily activities for individuals who have completed an aquatic therapy program. (See research article below!)


Myth #3: Aquatic therapy is only done in large group classes and you don’t get individualized attention.

Fact #3: At Breakthru we offer one-on-one treatment sessions under the supervision of a Doctor of Physical Therapy, who performs a comprehensive examination on day-one to learn your individuals needs and create a program that is appropriate for you.


Peer Reviewed Research on the Effectiveness of Aquatic Physical Therapy:

Article Title: Effects of high intensity resistance aquatic training on body composition and walking speed in women with mild knee osteoarthritis: a 4-month RCT with 12-month follow-up

Date of Publication: August 2017

Journal: Osteoarthritis and Cartilage

Link: https://www.oarsijournal.com/article/S1063-4584(17)30869-5/fulltext


Main Take Home/ Implications:

  • There were 87 female participants aged 60-69 with history of knee osteoarthritis. Treatment program consisted of high intensity aquatic exercises at a frequency of 3 times per week for 16 weeks.
  • Aquatic resistance training resulted in improvements in decreased fat mass and increased walking speed.
  • Participants experienced a gradual decrease in pain symptoms over the course of treatment and in conjunction with increased intensity of exercise.
  • Results were maintained at 12 months post, demonstrating the lasting effects of aquatic therapy.
  • Participants finished the course of treatment with the ability to exercise at a higher intensity of resistance and with less pain in their affected knee!

Quotations from the research:

  • “Pain experienced in affected knee during the intervention was mild…”
  • “At 12-months follow-up, walking speed in the intervention group remained significantly faster compared to the control group.“
  • “…indicates that an intensive aquatic resistance training program is effective at decreasing fat mass as well as improving walking speed in post-menopausal women with mild knee OA.”

Disclaimer: This information is intended for educational purposes only. Individuals should seek consultation in person with a licensed physical therapist or physician prior to attempting aquatic therapy.