Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy at Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital provides many benefits when patients are not ready for the challenges of full weight-bearing activity during gym-based therapy. Our warm water pool not only encourages physical activity for patients who would otherwise be inactive or have limited movement, but also helps improve the body’s overall circulation for those recovering from accidents or surgery.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Water has many unique properties that make it the ideal environment for physical therapy.

  • Buoyancy allows for easier body movements and, because patients feel lighter in the water, it is easier to stand for longer periods of time and move stiff joints. Our special underwater treadmill is an excellent way for patients to increase their endurance in a less stressful environment.
  • Since weights or gym machines may provide too much resistance at the beginning of a rehabilitation program, using the natural resistance property of water is the preferred way to increase muscle strength and allow for smooth, non-jerky movements. The intensity of resistance can be easily increased using flotation devices in the water as the patient progresses.
  • The pressure of water on the body increases the dynamics of blood pressure, which can help strengthen the heart and challenge the lungs. Pressure also is a significant benefit for patients with conditions such as venous stasis, a complication of poor circulation in the legs.
  • Warm water helps relax tense and constricted muscles, soothes aching joints, and allows for a wider range of motion in affected areas.

Our Patients

Aquatic therapy may be recommended for patients recovering from a wide range of conditions:

  • Shoulder and arm problems
  • Hip bursitis and replacements
  • Knee scopes and replacements
  • Post stroke or brain injury
  • Back and neck pain
  • Ankle rehabilitation
  • Post trauma
  • Chronic pain syndromes

About Our Services

Aquatic therapy requires a physician referral. Appointments are available Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Therapy sessions last approximately 45 minutes with a specially trained therapist in the shallow pool to assist patients with proper techniques. Patients do not need to know how to swim to benefit from aquatic therapy. Patients complete an initial evaluation with a physical therapist during their first visit to develop a customized plan of care before beginning aquatic therapy on the next visit. The overall goal of the program is to teach each patient what they need to know to safely continue on their own in a community pool after discharge or transition to a gym-based program when appropriate.

The aquatic therapy pool is located in Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital’s Center for Rehabilitation, a 6,000-square foot facility on the first floor of the Women’s & Children’s Pavilion. For more information, call 281-737-4746.