How Does Hydrotherapy Work?

Hydrotherapy pools and hydrotherapy treatment is widely used now in rehabilitative environments. It has proven to be a very effective and therapeutic and has lots of benefits to people with varying medical conditions.

But how does hydrotherapy work?

Well, we’ve answered a series of questions below to explain how this aquatic treatment works and how it can benefit you and your clients.

Updated Tuesday 10th January 2023

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy or Aquatic Physiotherapy is the use of water to revitalise, maintain and restore health. It’s part of alternative medicine, occupational therapy and physiotherapy that involves the use of water for pain relief and treatment. ​

It involves specialist exercise which takes place in warm water promoting relaxation, pain relief and the water can be used to exercise in, as it reduces the strain on joints of weight bearing. ​

How does aquatic therapy work
Innova Care Concepts are specialists in providing stainless steel hydrotherapy pools.

How is a hydrotherapy pool different to a normal pool?

This is a question we often get asked; hydrotherapy pools differ from traditional swimming pools in a lot of ways.

For a start, the purpose of a hydrotherapy pool is to provide a rehabilitative environment that will help to restore health and heal injuries. And exercising in water is very beneficial because it supports the person’s body weight.

You’d be able to tell the difference as soon as you walked into a room with a hydrotherapy pool because of the temperature. Hydrotherapy pool water temperature is typically about 33 – 36°C, which is significantly warmer than a normal swimming pool (that usually is no hotter than 28°C). The hotter water will make the room more humid.

Home Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy pools are significantly warmer than a standard swimming pool.

Why does hotter water help heal injuries?

How does it feel when you climb into a nice hot bath at the end of the day? Relaxing, right?

Well that’s exactly how hydrotherapy pools work. Warm water makes your body and muscles relax, which in turn helps to heal injuries and promote bodily functions like circulation, respiration, and even pain relief.

There is a growing evidence base which suggests that heat stimulatory receptors are in the same place as nociceptive impulses (these are nerve cells that cause pain when stimulated). By introducing heat, it will essentially numb or override the sensation of pain, making it easier for the person to move and exercise uninhibited.

Kingfishers School Hydrotherapy Pool
Warm water helps promote bodily functions like circulation, respiration, and even pain relief.

A different kind of hydrotherapy exercise

Hydrotherapy pools are specially designed to facilitate slow and methodical exercises that help to rehabilitate individuals, so it might not be the right place for you to practice your swimming time trials. Anyone who got into a hydrotherapy pool and started practising their front crawl would soon struggle and get tired a lot quicker because of the heat.

That is precisely why hydrotherapy is much slower and softer. You would usually have a physiotherapist in the pool with you to demonstrate the exercises they want you to do depending on your injuries and your range of movement.

It isn’t like aquacise or aquarobics that are usually more demanding and stamina-based – hydrotherapy is all about building strength.

Click here to discover which exercises you and your clients can do in a hydrotherapy pool!

Who can you use hydrotherapy with?

This treatment can be used with a vast array of people with many varying conditions or injuries. One of the most common places we install hydrotherapy pools is in rehabilitation centres, although they are also used in SEN schools and private homes.

Boston Endeavour Hydrotherapy Pool
Boston Endeavour Academy’s hydrotherapy pool caters for a wide range of healthcare needs.

Here are a few examples of people who may use hydrotherapy:

  • People who have suffered spinal injuries
  • Children and young adults with learning difficulties and/or physical disabilities
  • People living with Arthritis (find out more here)
  • Athletes who are overcoming injuries

Can spas have hydrotherapy pools?

It is possible for spas to have hydro pools but might not be to the same high spec as other hydrotherapy pools. For example, places like Harrogate and Budapest have natural spas that produce naturally hot mineral water which has proven to be very relaxing and beneficial over time.

This water can be used in a hydrotherapy pool, but generally speaking, a person will benefit from hydrotherapy regardless of the water used in the pool.

So if you ever wondered how hydrotherapy was different, then we hope this answered your questions. It’s an incredibly beneficial kind of treatment that can work on numerous injuries and rehabilitative techniques, and we would urge anyone to take up hydrotherapy in a care plan (if appropriate/possible).

Get support and advice for your hydrotherapy pool project by getting in touch with our team below!

    Hydrospace Enquiry Form

    Overhead Hoists Enquiry Form

    Changing Places Enquiry Form