Aquatic Rehabilitation

What is aquatic therapy?

Aquatic Therapy is an alternative form of rehabilitation that allows people to exercise in a heated pool. The unique properties of water — buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and viscosity, plus the warmth of a therapeutic pool — provide gentle resistance during exercise. Patients are able to gain strength, flexibility, endurance, and mobility in a comfortable and pain‑free environment.

Why is water sometimes better for therapy?

  • Water can make exercise easier and less painful by allowing patients to progress in ways that would be too stressful or challenging in a traditional clinic setting.
  • The warmth of the pool water reduces muscular tension and helps increase restricted joint movement, increasing circulation throughout the whole body.
  • Injured limbs are supported in water, which allows greater ease of movement without increase in pain.

Who should receive aquatic therapy?

There is no age limit; everyone from small children to senior citizens can take part in this therapeutic program. Aquatic therapy can benefit patients with conditions such as arthritis, back/neck pain, sprains, strains or fractures, joint pain, osteoarthritis and for individuals recovering from surgery, sports injuries, or work related injuries. Patients who have had difficulty with traditional therapy often show improvement with aquatic therapy.


  • Seizure disorders: Patient must have a prescription or letter from the physician stating the seizure is controlled with medication
  • Urinary incontinence: Patient must wear an approved swim diaper to enter the pool

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

  • Increase circulation
  • Increase strength and endurance
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • General muscle relaxation

Why is aquatic therapy not right for everyone?

Most people find aquatic therapy to be beneficial and enjoyable. However, there are some conditions where water-based therapy is not appropriate. Patients with the following are not allowed to participate in aquatic therapy for their protection and the protection of other patients:

  • Fever>100’ F
  • Heart failure, heart arrhythmia, or less than 6 weeks post heart attack
  • Infectious diseases including waterborne disease (typhoid, cholera, dysentery), skin rashes, influenza, and urinary tract infections
  • Severe kidney or lung disease
  • Uncontrolled seizure disorder
  • Open wounds
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Menstruation without internal protection
  • Perforated eardrums

Do I need to know how to swim?

No, you do not need to know how to swim to participate in aquatic therapy. Typically there is no need to submerge or get your head wet. For your safety and comfort you may use flotation devices and have direct assistance or supervision of a qualified therapist during your treatments. Please let us know before your appointment of any anxiety or concern you might have before coming to the pool.

How do I start?

Aquatic therapy can either be used independently or in conjunction with traditional, land-based physical therapy. An aquatic appointment is scheduled after a formal physical therapy evaluation has been completed in the clinic.


If you have any questions about our Aquatic Therapy Program or the referral process please feel free to call us at (603) 542-1878.
Valley Regional Rehabilitation Services
Valley Regional Hospital
243 Elm Street
Claremont, New Hampshire 03743