Aquatic Therapy

Try our hands-on, Customized Aquatic Therapy

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.


Most frequent questions and answers

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

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.

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.

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..