Rehabilitation Services
1521 Gull Rd.
Kalamazoo, MI 49048 |

Aquatic Rehabilitation

Connecting You to Quality and Collaborative Treatment

Aquatic therapy is conveniently available in the warm-water pool at the Borgess Health & Fitness Center and our location on 11th Street. To help you learn more about this safe, rejuvenating therapy, we’ve provided answers to some common questions:

What is aquatic therapy?

Aquatic therapy is a form of physical therapy that’s designed to incorporate the properties of water, including buoyancy, resistance and heat. Buoyancy supports the body and reverses the effects of gravity. At waist level, a person will weigh about 50 percent of his/her normal body weight.

What conditions could aquatic therapy help?

People use aquatic therapy to treat many illnesses and conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia; chronic and low back pain; depression; headaches; stomach problems; joint, muscle and nerve problems; sleep disorders; neurological disorders (e.g., stroke); sports injuries; obesity; stress; and more. Women may also benefit from this type of therapy during pregnancy.

What are the benefits of aquatic therapy?

  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Less joint, muscle and mental stress
  • Reduced swelling
  • Enhanced circulation, endurance and cardiovascular function
  • Improved flexibility and range of motion
  • Better coordination and balance

Is it safe?

If aquatic therapy is supervised by a trained professional, it is generally safe. Before trying aquatic therapy, talk to your physical therapist and/or primary care doctor about your physical condition and medical history.

Why is water sometimes a better option than land?

Water enables patients to exercise in an environment that gives their body freedom of movement. Because of the reversed effects of gravity, patients are more likely to relax, fostering joint and muscle relaxation. Water’s buoyancy can be especially advantageous for patients with arthritis or healing fractured bones, or who are overweight.

The viscosity (thickness) of water provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily included in an aquatic therapy program. Resistance, combined with buoyancy, allows patients to strengthen muscle groups with reduced joint stress. Water also decreases soreness after exercise and promotes psychological benefits. For example, someone who has had an injury might associate pain with movement. Aquatic therapy can help this person overcome the expectation that certain movements hurt, smoothing the progress of improved function in water and on land.

What types of aquatic therapy treatments does Borgess offer?

  • Ai Chi: a therapy that combines Tai-Chi concepts with Shiatsu and Qi Gong techniques. Performed standing in shoulder-depth water, Ai Chi uses a combination of deep breathing and slow, broad movements of the arms, legs, and torso.
  • Burdenko: a system for training, conditioning and rehabilitation developed by Igor Burdenko, an expert in the field of aquatic therapy.
  • BackHab Walking Program: a form of aquatic therapy that uses a variety of walking strides and stretches. BackHab is ideal for those with back pain or hamstring injuries, or people hoping to build abdominal strength.
  • Bad Ragaz: a collection of therapeutic techniques that have been developed in the thermal waters of Bad Ragaz, Switzerland. This method may be used for muscle re-education, strengthening, spinal traction/elongation, relaxation and tone inhibition.
  • Sports Training: to assist with goals relating to stretching, gait training, endurance, aerobic conditioning, pain relief, lumbar stabilization and balance.

Why choose Borgess?

Our dedicated aquatic physical therapists are experienced and understand the frustrations of chronic health conditions. Every therapist holds certification in the Burdenko technique. Our lead therapist is also certified through the Aquatic Therapy and Rehabilitation Institute, Inc. In addition to aquatic therapy, Borgess offers comprehensive rehabilitation services for those recovering from wide-ranging illnesses or injuries. Our inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, are delivered in comfortable, patient-friendly settings in Kalamazoo, Portage, Plainwell, Battle Creek and Dowagiac. So regardless of the health challenges you’re facing, you can focus your attention on what matters most: returning to the life and the activities you love.

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