Why Does Aquatic Therapy Benefit An Individual that Had a Stroke? 

There are many effects on the body when having a stroke. This includes:

  • Spasticity
  • Weakness on both sides of the body or on one side of the body. 
  • Decreased motor planning
  • Deficits with standing and sitting balance
  • Deficits with cognition
  • Deficits with spatial awareness
  • Difficulty walking 

What Are The Benefits? 

  • Buoyancy: With land therapy, gravity is present and makes it difficult for patients to stand, lift their limbs, or cause pain when standing and walking. The buoyancy of the water removes gravity and allows the individual to move the limb freely. It allows the individual to do exercises that they would have difficulty with on land.
  • Viscosity of water: Viscosity is a natural resistance felt within the water. It allows the patient with a stroke to strengthen weaker limbs with any weights. In the water, the patient is always getting a strengthening workout. Once the patient is stronger, weights, resistance bands, and paddles can be added to more resistance. 
  • .Improve patients balance: In most cases with a stroke, the individual is weaker on one side then the other. This usually causes deficits with their balance and decreases the patients confidence doing balance activities on land. The water is a controlled environment, the individual is able to practice higher level balance activities. The individual can feel protected in the water if they fall. 
  • Improve Walking: When the individual feels more confident about their balance, they are able to feel more confident about walking. Walking in the water allows the patient to practice the proper sequence. It also allows them to improve their endurance. When walking in the pool, it allows the patient to transfer their skills and abilities onto their activities of daily living on land. 
  • Improve your Spasticity: Heat is a beneficial tool to use when individuals have spasticity. In warm pools, it gives the muscles the ability to relax. When the muscle is relaxed, it lengthens and allows the individual to perform functional activities such as walking. With relaxed muscles it also allows for decreased pain in the joints and muscles affected. 

Ready to Change The Way You Move

Contact Total Performance Physical Therapy to get you started on improving your life.


Comparison of Aquatic Therapy vs. Dry Land Therapy to Improve Mobility of Chronic Stroke Patients – PMC (nih.gov)

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy – Helen Hayes Hospital


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