Through the ages, people have flocked to beaches, lakes, rivers, pools and showers to enjoy the revitalising effects of water.
The practice might be ancient, but the hydrotherapy industry is relatively new, and the science around its health-giving benefits still relatively unknown.
Hydrotherapy is about the healing power of water and can provide relief for those suffering from chronic pain.
Jo Rankin is a Melbourne-based APA Physiotherapist with some 30 years’ experience.
For the past 20 years she has been using hydrotherapy to treat patients for a broad range of medical conditions.
Ms Rankin is currently a director of Hydrotherapy Solutions, a leading hydrotherapy practice with pools in northeast Melbourne.
“Hydrotherapy, or Aquatic Physiotherapy, involves exercise and hands-on treatment in water heated to 34ºC,” she explains.
“It’s an extremely versatile form of treatment for all ages – it is possible to carry out very gentle or quite strenuous exercise, and it can begin early in your recovery or well down the track.
“In a heated hydrotherapy pool tissues get more flexible and this helps to reduce pain.
“Multiple issues and areas of the body can be addressed within the one treatment session, with a supportive and social environment further contributing to holistic care.
“With hydrotherapy, people can enjoy exercise and move more freely with less pain.”
Ms Rankin says hydrotherapy can assist with the treatment of arthritis, back or neck pain, pre and post-surgery, fractures and trauma, work related injury, sports injury, cancer, mobility and balance.
And you don’t have to be able to swim to participate.
“Even people who think they don’t like being in the water quickly change their minds as they reap the benefits of warm water hydrotherapy.”
Facilities must be built to the highest possible standards
Chris Samartzis, CEO of SPASAVIC (the peak body of the pool and spa industry in Victoria), says it is vitally important that people who use hydrotherapy pools feel safe and confident in the facility.
Hydrotherapy facilities must be built to the highest standards of Master Craftsmanship accreditation, with the latest innovations to help patient recovery, Mr Samarzis says.
“For all of us, the positive that comes with partnering with health institutions means we are helping our communities maintain their wellbeing and be able to spend time with each other which has benefits for all concerned.”
Standard hydrotherapy sessions run for 1hr and may be eligible for private health fund and Medicare physiotherapy rebates.
It is advisable to seek professional advice from a GP or qualified physiotherapist before beginning hydrotherapy treatment.
For more information: