• Lymphedema

• Aquatic Therapy

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy is a specialized treatment method that combines the properties of warm water with physical and occupational therapy techniques to assist in a person’s rehabilitation. Patients report that movement is not only easier in the water, but also less painful, promoting earlier rehabilitation and better results.

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

  • Bouyancy or "weightlessness" of the water enables a person with an injury to move in ways not possible on land.
  • Weight relief is considerable. Waist deep water takes off 50 percent of your weight, chest deep takes off 70 percent of your weight, neck deep takes off 80 percent of your weight and, when your feet are off the ground, 100 percent of your body weight has been relieved from your achy joints.
  • Swelling is reduced in the arms and legs because of pressure exerted on your body from the water. If your entire leg is immersed the pressure is greater than if you are wearing an ace bandage. Patients come out of the water with less swelling, especially in their knees and feet.
  • The pressure of the water increases circulation, especially to the hands and feet, bringing much needed healing blood to the injured areas.
  • The feel of the water can help make overly sensitive areas less sensitive and more tolerant to therapy, touch and exercise.
  • The water is a safe place to practice improving your walking and balance. You don't have to worry about falling and getting hurt.
  • Water is six times more dense than air. This provides for a safe and even resistance on the body for strengthening and posture control.
  • It is much less painful exercising in the water than on land. When there is less pain, there is better healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to know how to swim?

It is not necessary to know how to swim in order to participate in aquatic physical therapy. You can remain at the 4 ½ foot depth and at the wall for the entire session, or we can use various flotation devices to make you feel comfortable and safe.

What if I'm afraid of the water?

We have many patients who are afraid of the water before beginning aquatic physical therapy. We work very closely with them in shallower water until they become comfortable — and they all do.

What should I wear to my aquatic physical therapy session?

Many patients wear bathing suits for aquatic physical therapy sessions, but any clothes that you don't mind getting wet are OK with us. Some wear shorts and T-shirts just because they aren't comfortable in a bathing suit. If you have diabetes or poor sensation in your feet, we recommend aquatic shoes for your protection.

Is there a difference between water aerobics and aquatic therapy?  

There is a difference between water aerobics and aquatic physical therapy. Water aerobics is a nonspecific exercise class led by an aerobics instructor. Aquatic physical therapy is physical therapy delivered by a licensed physical therapy in an aquatic environment. Treatment is delivered in a one-on-one treatment session in the pool. The treatment is specific for the individual patient's injury or condition. 

What do I need to bring with me to my aquatic physical therapy sessions?

When you come for aquatic physical therapy, bring clothes for the pool, a change of clothes, water shoes to protect your feet from scuffing on the bottom of the pool and a towel.

How do I become an aquatic therapy patient?

To become an aquatic physical therapy patient, you will need a prescription for physical therapy from your doctor. The prescription does not necessarily have to say "aquatic physical therapy."  This decision is between you and your physical therapist. Many physicians do specifically prescribe aquatic physical therapy for their patients. Keep in mind that the decision rests with you. Discuss it with your doctor and you both may agree that a physical therapy evaluation for aquatics may be in order.

What if I'm incontinent?

Special garments are available for those patients who are incontinent. Incontinence of bladder is manageable; however, bowel incontinence may limit you from using the pool. Speak to your therapist for more information.

Where will I change clothes?

LaGrange College's Charles D. Hudson Natatorium offers men and women changing facilities as well as a handicapped accessible dressing area.

Will I be working with my therapist one on one on one?

The typical arrangement for aquatic physical therapy is one-on-one interaction with your physical therapy clinician. There are some group opportunities available for those who have achieved a greater level of independence.

How do I get scheduled?  

Please call (706) 845-3883, and arrive 15 minutes before your first scheduled appointment. Since aquatic therapy is off-site, we ask that you make every effort to attend sessions and notify us 48 hours in advance of cancellations. Your consideration is greatly appreciated.

What if there is bad weather? 

Aquatic therapy will be cancelled if there is a storm involving thunder and lightning. If it is only raining or cloudy, you may assume we will continue with appointments as scheduled.

Directions to the Facility

Aquatic therapy sessions are held at the Charles D. Hudson Natatorium at LaGrange College.

From Lafayette Square:

  • Head WEST on Vernon Road toward WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.
  • In 7/10 of a mile, take a left onto Forrest Avenue.
  • Go about 6/10 of a mile and veer left around the Callaway Education Building.

The natatorium will be on your left behind Callaway Auditorium. There is a ramp for easy access on the far right side of the building.

For more information, call (706) 845-3883.