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Hydrotherapy - Physical Therapy Cheat Sheet by

Cheat sheet about Hydrotherapy by Hareem Arshad

Hydrot­herapy - Physical Therapy

What is Hydrot­herapy?
Hydrot­herapy, derived from the Greek words hydro and therapeia, meaning "­wat­er" and "­hea­lin­g", is the applic­ation of water, either internally or extern­ally, for the treatment of physical or psycho­logical dysfun­ction.

Physical Properties of Water

Unique Properties of water include:
1.High specific heat
2.Thermal conduc­tivity
5.Hydr­ostatic pressure

Types of Hydrot­her­apy

1.Imme­rsion 2.Non immersion

Imme­rsion Method

Whirlpool Bath
A whirlpool may be used by your physical therapist to help improve circul­ation, mobility, and comfort after an injury or after surgery. The typical goals of whirlpool use in the physical therapy clinic include:
 Decrease swelling
 Control inflam­mation
 Promote wound healing
 Improve motion
 Decrease pain
 Decrease muscle spasm

Hubbard Tank

Whitehall manufa­ctures rectan­gular full immersion whirlpools as well as Hubbard tanks. Hubbard Tanks feature a signature contoured figure­-eight shape that allow medical staff easier access to patients while providing full immersion to the patient. In this device, victims of joint injuries, paralysis, arthritis, and other ailments are effect­ively treated. The warmth of the water relaxes muscle spasms.

Aquatic / Pool therapy

Aquatic therapy, or pool therapy, consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water. It is a beneficial form of therapy that is useful for a variety of medical condit­ions. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise perfor­mance.

Non Immersion Methods

Non-im­mersion therapy is becoming more popular.
These are some of the non-im­mersion tools used:
1. Saline Squeeze Bottle.
2. Piston Irrigation Syringe.
3. Water Pik.

Physio­logical Effects of Hydrot­herapy

Cleansing Effect
• Water can be used as a cleanser.
• Water is most commonly used as cleansing agent for skin.
• Hydrating effects and friction of water used to soften and remove debris.
• Water is used clinically both as wound exudate or necrotic tissue, and as a cleanser to remove exogenous waste.

Muscul­osk­eletal Effects

• The buoyancy of water unloads the weight bearing of anatomical structures and allow patients to perform exercise with less trauma and pain.
• Buoyancy effect can help patients with; decrease weight bearing (arthr­itis), increase blood flow to the muscles, muscle streng­the­ning, ligame­ntous instab­ility, other degene­rative or traumatic condit­ions.

Cardio­vas­cular Effects

• The cardio­vas­cular benefits of hydrot­herapy are primarily due to the effects of hydros­tatic pressure.
• Increase venous circul­ation.
• Increase cardiac volume.
• Increase cardiac output.

Respir­atory Effects

• Immersion of the whole body in water increases the work of breathing.
• Hydros­tatic Pressure on the chest wall increases the resistance to lungs expansion.
• Water based exercise is also often recomm­ended for patients with EXERCISE INDUCED ASTHMA because it appears that high humidity of the air inspired during water exercise, which prevents drying and cooling of the respir­atory mucosa.

Psycho­logical Effects

• Water immersion can be relaxing.
• The variation in the psycho­logical effects depends primarily in the temper­ature of water.

Renal Effects

• Increase sodium and potassium excretion.
• Increase urine produc­tion.
• May be used to treat the patient with hypert­ension and peripheral edema.

Contra­ind­ication - Local Immersion

Maceration around a wound.
When there is bleeding.
Impaired thermal sensation.
Infection is present.
Impaired cognition.
Areas of recent skin graft.

Contra­ind­ication - Full body immersion

Cardiac instab­ility.
Bowel or bladder incont­inence.
Severe epilepsy.
Suicidal patient.


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