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Hydrotherapy: It Can Do Your Body Good

Updated on September 9, 2016

A Jacuzzi or whirlpool are perfect for hydrotherapy after a workout session

Warmed Up

Hydrotherapy can help relax sore joints, ease back pain, and make you feel better in warm or hot water. If you enjoy taking a hot or warm shower, or a warm bath, imagine the possibilities at feeling the same way at your own health club or gym. You can also find the same pleasure in a spa, hot tub or whirlpool with comfortable heated water, like mineral springs with healing health benefits. It can also jump-start and reboot your energy for the rest of the day.

Easing the back pain via therapy

When I did aquatic physical therapy this summer, before I went over to land physical therapy, I experienced a new sensation. The warm heated pool water made my feel back better from shoulder to waist level. It reminded me of the equivalent sensation of pulsing water from the shower to massage my aching back. If your local rehab center has the option of aquatic physical therapy, I would suggest you can do it. It can help you recover from broken bones to an aching back and whatever else that ails you.

Some of the physical therapy exercises I did last year was done in the water. Some of them were new and used a variety of pool equipment that you can do at the wall or near it. When I followed my aquatic physical therapist instructions, I managed to do it on my own as I progressed from a different set of reps per session.

It started out with walking a few times in the pool to warm up, before we worked other exercises like neck stretches near the water. My first sessions were about a half-hour long and finished with an hour for the second half of the therapy session. For therapy, they used a variety of equipment to use in the pool: noodles, kick boards, 4-inch and 8-inch steps, water barbells, and paddles. It really give you an workout for your arms and legs, which is also great for your back as well. After each session, I noticed a difference as the pain level stayed the same or decreased every day. And in between sessions, your home exercises for the pool can get your prepared for the next day to make you feel stronger. If you graduated to do them in the pool, you get a chance to do your own therapy session at your own pace. If you combined it with regular land therapy, you would feel better every day.

Water aerobics in a heated pool have many benefits, especially for back or joint pain

Stay hydrated with a water bottle when you swim or do any other aquatic activities

Getting a Relaxed Fit


Now if you prefer to do water aerobics at your local gym, your whole body will thank you. Each gym have its own water aerobics program for low intensity to high intensity exercises. Some classes are in early to mid morning, and some are also on weekends for your preference. Last week, I decided to do my first water aerobics class and saw how it went. If your gym have an Arthritis Relief Foundation program, consider that class to help you out with your joints. If not, try to find a low-impact one in its place in any heated or therapy pool. It focuses on the range of motion. Although I was the only newbie surrounded by senior citizens in the class, that was okay with me. The instructor was nice. You can take this class, once or twice a week or even more, or even do back to back, if they off the same class twice. (I’ve heard that the 9 AM class was the same, except that they sing during exercising.) Each instructor might have a different exercise program.

For my water aerobics class, we started out with walking in the pool for a warm up. Then we start off with exercises for the neck, arms, waist and ankles, in and above water. Then we do go to the side of the pool to do some leg stretches on both sides by kicking them forward and back, sideways, and in circular motion. Then we go back to the center of the pool to cool down with exercising our wrists, ankles, fingers, neck and shoulders. If I have to pick favorites, my favorite is the golf swing and the baseball bat swing.

Other gyms might have these kinds of water aerobics, depending on your level. There’s a shallow water fitness class that worked on the upper and lower body workout with a warm up, cardio and cool down stretch with equipment. If you do Pilates on the mat or standing or both, you can do the hydro-Pilates class which focuses on core strength, flexibility, stretching and balance for a medium intensity workout. (I might consider doing this class in spring 2015.) You can always try water walking, which is a medium-high-workout of both the upper and lower body as well. It was designed to improve insurance and stamina. You can even go with the current for an easier walk or against it for resistance. If you want to take it to another level, to a high intensity class, there’s a deep water fitness class that used buoyancy belts with a focus on a cardio workout.

Swimming can be your back's best friend in heated or cool water to keep you active

Hydrotherapy for back pain poll

How would you use hydrotherapy for back pain?

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Take a Swim

If aquatic physical therapy or water aerobics isn’t your thing, swimming can give you a pleasurable workout. Whether your gym has a heated pool or not, you can float, swim, and if they have a diving board, take a dive into the deep end. You can go at your pace and then enjoy the spa or whirlpool to relax and hit the sauna for a good break. You can always mix it up a bit and shake things up. As long as you abide by the open pool rules, you’ll have a good time. Make sure to bring a water bottle for every workout and to stay hydrated.

Have fun by getting fit and healthy in the pool, year-round! Take my word for it! I've been doing it for two weeks, (even doing my own post-therapy pool exercises when I can), when my back feels better by doing a little bit of this and that.

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      it sounds like a good spa at home, thanks, voted up

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good morning, Kristen; excellent article on the benefits of hydrotherapy. I relish this experience when I visit my sister in Baltimore. Her gym is fully equipped with sauna, jacuzzi and what they call a powerful whirlpool. It does feel like the jets are more forceful. All this after water aerobics. Now that I'm thinking about it, I might have to schedule a visit. Thanks for the reminder. Voted up. ~Marilyn

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Marilyn for stopping by and the great comments. I love hydrotherapy or any therapy that can help a low back pain, too.

      Thanks Peach.

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Hydrotherapy is awesome for my chronic pain from fibromyalgia. I had a portable hot-tub that a friend was supposed to store for me, but somehow it disappeared. I would love to have another someday.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks for stopping by Colorfulone. Sorry to hear about your portable hot tub. I didn't know they were portable. Hugs.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 2 years ago from North Texas

      I've head all of my life that water aerobics are easier on your body as far as hurting oneself, than regular aerobics and exercises, while at the same time being more beneficial in toning, etc. I'm for whatever works for the person who is doing the exercise. Sounds good.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      I agree with you, Au fait. It works wonders in a heated pool for sure. I always have a great workout. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 2 years ago from United States

      Love all things swim fitness. Thank you for reminding us and showcasing the many wonders that water offers.

      Spring is upon us here in the Midwest and I am anxious to get my hot tub up and running again!

      Nothing better in this world than the wonderful world of water!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure, Easy Exercise. Hydrotherapy is perfect all year round. Thanks for stopping by.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 2 years ago from Arizona

      I have suffered from back problems off and on for years. You speak the truth regarding hydrotherapy. And, as you illustrate, there are a number of ways to reap the benefits. It really helps!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      My pleasure Cindy. It helped me out big time. Glad it can be useful, too.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      You've encouraged me to check out water therapy. I have joint issues that prevent me getting exercise on land, so water therapy may be just what I need.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Go for it, Ron, It's a true godsend, I now have knee pain for two weeks and might see a doctor for it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      Ever try contrast baths? You sit in a hot tub, then take a cold plunge or roll in the snow. It sounds outrageous, but gives y0u the most fabulous glow afterwards!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      I can't say I have. A cold plunge in the pool? I'm not a member of the Polar Bear club for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

    • louise-barraco profile image

      Louise Barraco 2 years ago from Ontario

      Very informative article I have a hot tub and use it all the time

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Good for you Louise. I love the hot tub in my gym, too.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      My wife has back pain and swimming and hydrotherapy seem to help.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Hi there Poetryman. I'm glad swimming and hydrotherapy is helping her out, like it did for me. It's a godsend.

    • Turtlewoman profile image

      Kim Lam 2 years ago from California

      I'm almost 8 months pregnant and have been reading about the benefits of hydrotherapy to relive pain once the contraction starts to hit. I'm so glad my hospital also has 2 hot tubs available! Very interesting article, thank you!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome and congrats Kim! Hot tubs are a godsend, even after a workout in the water. I'm glad it's beneficial. I might have to do some more research to update this hub with new information real soon.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Sounds like the information you have here could be of great benefit for those who suffer from chronic back problems.

      Voted up.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Poetryman, I believe so. It has many benefits for whatever ails you. Thanks for stopping by.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Very useful post with a lot of info. thanks

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Very useful post with a lot of info. thanks

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're very welcome Emge. Glad it's helpful for healing aches and pains.

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 2 years ago from Canada

      Great hub! My husband and I moved to a place that is ten minutes from the beach, so we plan to do lots of swimming this year. I hope this will help my husband's neck, as he has had neck pain for a while.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks so much Prairie princess! That's cool to do local swimming. I hope it helps too, since it helped with my back pain in the past.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 23 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I've been missing out on being in the water and relaxing for a while now. Your hub reminded me of how soothing it was and how it does the body good. I can't swim so it would be a challenge to do any of those exercises but then again a lot of people can't swim and love the water.

      Informative and well said. Voted up.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Chris for the comments and your visit. You can do the hot tub or spa and have hydrotherapy or have a warm bath.

    • wilderness profile image

      Dan Harmon 23 months ago from Boise, Idaho

      I'm a firm believer in the use of water as a part of my exercise regime. Both water aerobics and simple swimming are used, both followed by a hot tub, and the results are great!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Dan, I so agree with you my friend! After water aerobics/Hydro Pilates, I do 10 minutes in spa, 5 in sauna, and 5 in shower. I do swim when I get a chance too. Good news Dan! Thanks for the visit!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 23 months ago from Vermont

      We have a 15 year old hot tub that my husband loves for his water therapy. He's had several back surgeries and tends to overdo it when he works on projects in our yard (laying stone walls, concrete work, soil turning and so on) so the strong water jets help his muscles relax and rejuvenate. He says our indoor whirlpool tub just doesn't do the job. I hope we can find a new spa with powerful jets when this one finally stops working - water therapy works wonders for body and mind.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 23 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Lee, that's amazing your hot tubs works wonders in your backyard, when your indoor one doesn't. I hope you can find one for your home. Maybe you can find one at your local gym. Thanks for the visit.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 22 months ago from Massachusetts

      This sounds like something I could use for those aches and pains. Years ago I used to swim quite a bit and I found it a great way to recover from my running. Have got away from it lately due to no easy place to swim but will have to try and get back into this. It does help. Thanks for the reminder, have a great day.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Bill for stopping by and commenting.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 22 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      Kristen, Please do some in-depth research on DMSO. I and my friends have experienced magical back pain relief. I'm talking about in minutes, not hours or days. You can purchase it on Amazon. You should get a holistic physician or MD, who is familiar with DMSO, there in Ohio to go over it with you. Best to you. Voting this up. Bobby

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Bobby, this is from just my person experience on hydrotherapy. I'll update my hub with info on DMSO. I'll see what I can find.

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 22 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      I meant personal.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

      When my mother was alive and we lived in the same subdivision, I loved using her swimming pool in the backyard. It was fun and relaxing and of course good exercise. I don't know why you needed therapy, but nice that you were getting good relief from the hydrotherapy. I once went to a week long spa and exercises in the pool were part of the daily routine. Nice!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Therapy for my backpain, which has been long resolved and feeling better. That does sound nice, Peggy. Heaven!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

      Glad your back pain is now resolved Kristen. A couple of years ago my hubby had spinal stenosis. Put him out of commission for quite some time! After medication and lots of therapy he is now much better. One of our neighbors that has a swimming pool let him use it for some of his suggested therapy. Was a lifesaver!

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Thanks Peggy. I'm so glad your hubby's much better. I've heard that swimming can be your back's best friend. :-)

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 20 months ago

      Kristen , the only thing better than water therapy ?...........Is for two !

      Great hub , thank you !

    • Kristen Howe profile image
      Author

      Kristen Howe 20 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      You're welcome Ahorseback. That's for sure.

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