Is Aquatic Physical Therapy Right For Me?

The aquatic physical therapy program at CP has grown rapidly in 2022. I think that is because word is finally starting to get out about the positive benefits working on the water can have for both surgical and nonsurgical conditions. At CP, our two warm water therapy pools are dedicated to helping each client find improvement and success.

 But, there are still a lot of questions as to whether aquatic PT is really helpful. So, we asked our team to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. We hope it helps you when making your decision.  

 Q: Is it necessary to know how to swim for aquatic therapy?

A: Actually no, you don’t have to know how to swim at all to benefit from aquatic therapy. We utilize aquatic equipment, whether it is floatation buoys or waist belts along with assistance from the therapist to make for a very comfortable, and safe environment. Most of the time you may not even get you hair wet!

 Q: What if I’m afraid of the water?

A: We have many patients who were afraid of the water before beginning aquatic physical therapy. We work very closely with them in shallower water until they become comfortable…and they all do.

Q: Do I need to wear a swimming suit or can I come in regular shorts?

A: No, shorts and t-shirts are acceptable

Q: Am I able to have aquatic physical therapy if I am already doing land based physical therapy?

A: Yes, in most cases insurance companies authorize both types of physical therapy. However, you will likely not be able to have both types of visits on the same day.

Q: Will aquatic therapy benefit me?

A: Aquatic therapy is one of the modalities of physical therapy, if you need/are referred to physical therapy then aquatic therapy will be beneficial as well. Compared to physical therapy on land, it is easier to move in the water and exercises in water are more fun. Most of the time a combination of land and aquatic based exercises are beneficial for patients for strengthening, postural/trunk control, balance and gait training.

Q: Will I be taught/allowed to do exercises on my own in the pool during/after my aquatic therapy session?

A: Yes, after receiving appropriate training from your aquatic therapist and you are safe to perform exercises by yourself or with a family member /friend that has been instructed to assist you with your prescribed exercise program.

Q: Are there particular benefits to aquatic therapy that you won’t find with another type of rehabilitation program?

A: Aquatic therapy takes place in a heated therapeutic pool and is an ideal method to relieve pain and improve function because it uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing. The warm water helps to increase circulation, respiratory rate, muscle metabolism, strength, flexibility and ease of movement while reducing pain through decreased weight-bearing and reduced joint stress.

Q: How do I go about becoming an aquatic therapy patient?

A: To become an aquatic physical therapy patient, you will need a prescription for physical therapy from your doctor. This decision is between you and your physical therapist. Many physicians do specifically prescribe aquatic physical therapy for their patients and that’s no problem. Keep in mind that the decision rests with you.

If you are interested in learning more about CP’s aquatic PT program, please reach out to our Intake Coordinator, Sandy, at

Q&A provided by Andrea Weyenberg. 

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