Aquatic Therapy At Thomaston Physical Therapy

Hands-on, Customized Aquatic Therapy In Our Newly Installed Pool

Aquatic therapy takes advantage of the physical properties of water, especially buoyancy. When submerged in water buoyancy supports a patient's weight which facilitates exercise without the compressive loading forces present with routine land-based programs.

Benefits of aquatic therapy include a patient's ability to reduce joint and soft-tissue swelling from the natural pressure of water. In addition, the viscosity of water and aquatic therapy allows patients enough resistance to strengthen muscle.

Aquatic rehabilitation reduces the amount of stress placed on joints so it is especially well suited for patients who are in pain and are weakened due to an injury or disability. The decreased joint stress enables patients to exercise easier and with less pain. Call us for more information on how our aquatic therapy, conveniently performed right here in our facility, can help you.


About Thomaston PT Pool


• Hydraulic lift
• Stair with rails
• Accessible showers and bathrooms
• Patients do no need to know how to swim
• Pool kept at 95 degrees
• Handicap accessible shower and bathrooms

Ideal Candidate


Aquatic therapy is ideal for the following conditions:

• Arthritis management/joint pain
• Athletic/cardiovascular training
• Gait analysis
• Musculoskeletal disorders
• Chronic back pain and lumbar stabilization
• Foot, ankle or knee pain
• Short-term therapy with transition to land-based rehabilitation
• Spinal cord injuries
• Amputees
• Stroke
• Brain Injury



Overall benefits:


• Increased healing and strengthening of injured tissue
• Increased flexibility
• Improved cardiovascular stamina
• Improved circulation
• Increased resistance for stretching and therapeutic exercise


What is "aquatic physical therapy"?

Aquatic Physical Therapy is the evidence-based and skilled practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by a physical therapist, or a physical therapist assistant under the supervision of a physical therapist. Aquatic Physical Therapy includes but is not limited to treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness and fitness of patient/client populations in an aquatic environment with or without the use of assistive, adaptive, orthotic, protective, or supportive devices and equipment.

The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for patients/clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary diseases, disorders, or conditions.

Aquatic Physical Therapy interventions are designed to improve or maintain:

• function
• aerobic capacity/endurance conditioning
• balance, coordination and agility
• body mechanics and postural stabilization
• flexibility
• gait and locomotion
• relaxation
• muscle strength, power, and endurance


Interventions used in Aquatic Physical Therapy include, but are not limited to, therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy, breathing strategies, electrotherapeutic modalities, physical agents and mechanical modalities using the properties of water and techniques unique to the aquatic environment.

Abbreviated Definition of Aquatic Physical Therapy

Aquatic Physical Therapy is the scientific practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by physical therapists and physical therapists assistants. Aquatic Physical Therapy includes but is not limited to treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness and fitness of patient/client populations in an aquatic environment. The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance treatments for patients/clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) diseases, disorders, or conditions.

Abbreviated Definition of Aquatic Physical Therapists

Aquatic Physical Therapists are licensed physical therapists who perform an examination and evaluation to establish a functional diagnosis, prognosis for functional recovery, and need for PT treatment with a plan of care. Aquatic Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants provide PT treatments in a safe aquatic environment taking into consideration transition to land based functional activities and communication with the patient-care team.

What is the difference between "aquatic physical therapy" and "aquatic exercise"?

The difference is that aquatic physical therapy requires the "skilled service" of a PT and/or PTA which may include:
the clinical reasoning and decision making skills of a PT/PTA;
the patient has impairments and/or disabilities which can be minimized or eliminated with aquatic physical therapy; and
the patient has potential to maximize functional goals/outcomes to improve quality of life and ease burden of care.
the implementation of such therapy must comply with all standards of care which impact all other treatment services.
Aquatic Exercise is the utilization of water for the implementation of quality of life, fitness-related or general health-related goals; can be delivered in a group setting that includes multiple clients and diagnoses; can be delivered by an individual other than a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant; and usually has little or no accompanying paperwork, insurance involvement or written follow-up information required.

Is aquatic physical therapy effective?

While there is considerable research effectively documenting the value of water therapy in various setting and for multiple diagnoses, it comes down to both the therapist's skills and the patient's diagnosis as to the exact benefit of this intervention for a specific patient. To delve more into specific diagnoses and the effectiveness of water therapy, one is encouraged to refer to the APTA website under research and follow the prompts to utilize various search engines to custom your search. Additionally, on this web page, one can, if an Aquatic Section member, retrieve previous Journal of aquatic Therapy articles that may help. Lastly, one might be encouraged to directly contact the Director of Research if adequate information regarding a specific topic cannot be found.

What do I do if I am denied coverage for aquatic therapy?

First of all, one must understand the exact reason for the denial, and that is stipulated on the insurance document usually, but it may also require a call to the insurance company. Additionally, one might refer to the APTA website under reimbursement to assist with the process. If this particular third party payor globally denies aquatic physical therapy, one can attempt to educate this insurance regarding the benefits of aquatic therapy, and specifically for the diagnosis in question. It would behoove the therapist to have research to substantiate this statement of aquatic therapy benefits. Such information might be initiated using the APTA website and going to the education tab to the research selection and following the prompts to various searches, directly emailing the Aquatic Section or discussion of this denial with therapists involved in aquatic therapy AND in your geographic area of practice regarding the denial and what they have done to rectify the situation to date. Additionally, one might consider contacting the reimbursement chair either in your state, as they may already be involved with education of insurance regarding this matter, or contact the APTA reimbursement office directly for assistance in how to proceed.

Are there any potential risks to therapists who are involved with prolonged exposure to water?

While this is absolutely dependent on water quality and one's person medical history, the has been documented evidence regarding both respiratory and dermatological conditions that one who is immersed in water for prolonged periods, seem to be susceptible to. At this time, there is no specific disease attributed to the water. For more information regarding this topic, you are encouraged to seek information on the following websites:
National Swimming Pool Foundation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Can patients with HepatitisB and other water therapy?

There should not be a problem with a patient who has Hepatitis B if they do not have any open wounds, are continent of bowel and bladder and if the pool chemistry is properly maintained.


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