Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Keeping with the complete approach to wellness at Physical Therapy Associates we offer aquatic based physical therapy treatments in our specialized therapy pool.  You may have heard of aquatic therapy,

and most likely wondered what benefits exercising in water provides. In order to understand why aquatic therapy may be right for you we need to discuss how our therapist harness some key properties of water.


Buoyancy is what makes items float in water. When you are submerged in water your bodies tissues are lifted, and the affects of gravity are decreased on your joints and spine. This allows for more pain free and improved range of motion as well as more in depth strengthening and carryover to your physical therapy treatments on land.

Viscosity is the resistance provided by the cellular bonds that are constantly breaking and forming in water. This is what makes running through water, or moving your open hand, difficult and slower under water than in open air. This is a truly gentle form of resistance that can be modified by our therapists to target your affected tissues with appropriate force.

Hydrostatic pressure is an inward force perpendicular to your body that is applied in water. This reduces swelling in the arms and legs and helps your blood return to your heart more quickly for more efficient exercise.

At Physical Therapy Associates our pool is heated to allow relaxation and improved elasticity of muscles, features underwater treadmills for effective cross training, and is equipped with mechanical current that can be used for swimming in place or as an additional challenge during aquatic exercise. This allows our pool to benefit a diverse population. From seniors trying to increase their walking distance in the community, to those rehabilitating following a knee surgery, all the way to high level triathletes, and many more!

Hopefully this information will help you to understand why your physician or evaluating physical therapist recommends aquatic therapy. Have a happy and healthy week and remember: If its physical its therapy!

Written by: Colten Yeigh, PTA

Underwater Treadmill Benefits

Here is part of an article from Runner's World discussing the benefits of underwater treadmills. Sign up today to try our EndlessPool system!

For the full article go to http://www.runnersworld.com/injury-prevention-recovery/benefits-of-underwater-treadmills

Runner's World coach Budd Coates tries out the Hydro Track.

By Megan Hetzel, Published March 17, 2014

Budd Coates, Runner's World coach and four-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, recently tried the Hydro Track.

If you're sidelined with an injury, the quicker you can get healthy and return to running, the better, right? Rehabbing on an underwater treadmill could be your solution. And you don't necessarily have to be an elite runner to take a dip in it.

"Water is a great medium to exercise in," said Timothy Miller, a physical therapist who is the Regional Director of Sports Rehabilitation at St. Luke's Physical Therapy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. "The buoyancy of the water decreases stress on the joints, the viscosity provides resistance for strength training, and the hydrostatic pressure helps support the body providing a safe workout environment."

Since underwater treadmills mimic on-land running and provide comparable cardiovascular benefits, runners can avoid losing too much fitness while rehabbing. Running through water forces your muscles to work harder than air does, so you can get in a solid workout without running as fast or as far as you normally would outside.

"People can get a good jog in between 4 mph and 5 mph," Miller said. "When I use it, I try to run the same amount of time I would for a regular run, but it ends of being around half the distance."

And you don't have to be injured to reap its benefits. An underwater treadmill is a great option if you're looking to add extra mileage without the extra wear and tear on your legs or if you want to bounce back more quickly after harder efforts. Elite coach Alberto Salazar has his althetes, like top distance runner Galen Rupp, use the aquatic 'mill to supplement their weekly mileage and recover from their road work.

Here are a few common questions and answers about the system:

What do you wear? Spandex or fitted technical apparel work best, but regular swimwear is also a good option. Most athletes run barefoot since running shoes - even minimal models like Vibrams - tend to get soaked and heavy.

How does water alter the amount of impact on your body? Waist-height water reduces your body weight by about 50 percent. Chest-height water creates close to a 75-percent weight reduction. This lowers the impact forces on an existing injury so you can begin therapy sooner while retaining muscle strength and conditioning.

What are examples of injuries that can be used for rehabilitation with an underwater treadmill? According to Miller, most common running injuries can be treated with an underwater treadmill, including Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), and generic knee pain. The system can also help rehab injuries like ankle sprains, fractures, and ACL reconstruction. Although the treadmill will not cure an injury, it does provide a means to maintain fitness and rebuild muscle strength, which can speed recovery.


Gluten Free Running

Gluten Free Running? All it takes is a trip to a grocery store to notice the increasing shelf space devoted to gluten free foods. Many restaurants, both chain and local, also offer gluten-free options on their menus. Additionally, numerous books and websites profess the benefits of a gluten free diet. All of this may leave you, as a runner, wondering whether a gluten-free diet might boost your performance and health.

According to Lara Field, R.D., marathoner and dietician who works with celiac patients at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, there is no evidence whatsoever that gluten-free eating offers performance benefits. Cutting out gluten for the average person does not ease inflammation or speed exercise recovery, as some have theorized. In fact, a poorly planned switch to gluten-free eating can result in an inadequate intake of vitamins, complex carbohydrates and minerals. “Some people associate ‘gluten-free’ with ‘healthier,’ but a runner who isn’t careful could end up eating a lot of refined carbs and added fats, leading to weight gain.”

Going gluten-free is without a doubt the best option for runners diagnosed with celiac disease (CD) and gluten intolerance (GI). After all, these disorders cause a variety of symptoms like stomach cramping, constipation, bloating and nutrient malabsporption. Cutting out gluten prevents these symptoms.







It's Never Too Late To Be Fit

Andersen Ross / Getty Images A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that being fit in your forties and fifties can significantly improve the quality of life in your seventies, eighties, and nineties.

Assessing 40 years of data gathered from 18,000 adults, the analysis finds that those who had higher fitness levels in middle age were substantially less likely to have a chronic condition between the ages of 70 and 85. Instead of living with diseases like heart disease, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s for 10 and 20 years, individuals who exercised more frequently during middle age were less likely to develop chronic illnesses until their last five years of life.

Research shows that you don’t have to undertake a strict fitness regime to get results though. Increasing your level of exercise during midlife years by 20%, decreases your chances of developing chronic diseases by 20%.

“Fitter individuals aged well with fewer chronic illnesses to impact their quality of life,” says Benjamin Willis of the Cooper Institute, first author of the study.

Thirty Minutes of Exercise Ideal for Weight Loss

According to a new study published recently from the University of Copenhagen, less may be best when it comes to weight loss.  Researchers studied two groups of individuals hoping to lose weight. The first group exercised daily for thirty minutes. The second group worked out for one hour.  The result? Those who sweat for thirty minutes lost more weight (two pounds over a three month period) than those exercising for twice the amount of time. The individuals who sweat for sixty minutes did burn more calories, but researchers speculated that their increased appetite may have countered their weight loss. They also reasoned that the 30 minute exercisers had additional energy to do other activities, like walking up stairs instead of taking the elevator, for the rest of the day.

“The take-home message is that in order to get the benefit of exercise on weight loss, you don’t have to go to extremes,” says Dr. Donald Hensrud, a weight-managament specialist at the Mayo Clinic.