When you think of physical therapy, your first thought probably doesn’t involve a pool. While utilizing aquatic therapy for physical recovery isn’t unconventional in terms of method, it also isn’t very common in the Western Michigan area. In fact, aquatic therapy is so specialized that Generation Care is one of only a handful of physical therapy facilities in West Michigan to have a pool in their own therapy center. Generation Care therapists can utilize the physical properties of water in order to maximize the benefits of every movement performed by the patient.
What are the benefits?
So how does physical therapy performed in water achieve better results than the same movement on land? Water is an excellent environment for physical therapy because it improves patient mobility and flexibility. The buoyancy your body will experience while in the pool reduces gravitational pull as compared to forces on land. This decreases the load on joints and improves ease of movement. In the case of injury or post-op recovery, aquatic therapy decreases pain sensitivity with warm water and increases blood flow to muscles promoting tissue healing.
Some of the physical benefits that aquatic therapy brings are:
- Muscle relaxation and better peripheral circulation
- Better platform for strength training with water resistance
- Increased balance and core stability
- A safe environment for strength training post-injury
- Increase in patient morale and confidence for progress
- Improved cardiovascular efficiency
A Leader in Education
Having an indoor, multi-level pool at our Lincoln Street location in Grand Haven gives Generation Care the opportunity to educate students in the most effective methods of aquatic therapy. Considered a leader in aquatic therapy education, over the last 9 years we have trained more than 300 students from the Physical Therapy Doctoral program of Central Michigan University. Generation Care also provides intensive 2-day training seminars in aquatic therapy for therapeutic professionals at all levels.
What We Use Our Center For
Contrary to popular belief, aquatic therapy actually does not have much to do with swimming. Our highly trained therapists use the physical properties of the aquatic environment to obtain results as fast as possible. Our patients are completely secure while in a pool that never requires them to be a confident swimmer or to be in deep water.
Our Pool’s Special Features
Because Generation Care’s pool is specifically designed for therapy sessions, our pool is equipped with several functional features for specialized movements and practice. Set at an optimal 93 degrees for comfort and muscle relaxation, Generation Care’s Aquatic Center features:
- Underwater plyometric cants for simulated skating
- Underwater parallel bars
- Benches for rest or seated exercises
- Jets for spot muscle tension attention
- Various depths for matching patient height and unloading options
- Ramps for water wheelchair access
- Currents for resisted swimming or patient trunk work
- A wide variety of aquatic equipment for therapy in water
What We Consider For Each Patient
Because each patient requires and deserves their physical therapy program to be tailored to their body’s needs, our therapists take into consideration a multitude of factors. When using the Aquatic Center for therapy, the following fundamentals are carefully reviewed for each individual patient and how it will affect their treatment or conditioning:
- Water current and drag
- Immersion and joint unloading
- Hydrostatic pressure
- Systemic impact on the whole body
- Center of balance changes
- Isokinetic properties of water
- Speed of movement and coordination
Generation Care makes patient safety and comfort their number one priority in their process. Our therapists understand that everyone is different when it comes to their level of comfort in the water. If aquatic therapy is something that is suggested for your care, or you have an interest in how utilizing aquatic therapy can benefit your recovery, know that you will always have your therapist at your side the entire session and will never be submerged in a depth that is unsafe or uncomfortable for you.
If you have any questions regarding our process for aquatic therapy as a patient, we would be more than happy to answer those for you in detail. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (616) 935-3300.
If you are interested in attending one of our two aquatic classes (Gentle Joint Aquacise or Parkinson’s Aqua Group), you can simply register online on our registration page.
If you are a student or a therapy professional interested in learning more about our educational seminars, contact Abby Hilgendorf for more information on dates available.