Aquatic Therapy Benefits

water aquatic therapy therapy madonna rehabilitation hospital rehab
The Olympic Swim trials are scheduled to get underway in Omaha in a few weeks. But each day, patients at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital suit up for a swimming trial of a different sort. It’s called aquatic therapy and involves a more intimate, warm-water therapy pool. And while medals aren’t awarded for finishing a therapy session, the benefits patients receive from aquatic therapy tend to stick with them for a lifetime.


On the surface water play may look like fun and games. But for patients recovering from a major injury or illness at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, aquatic therapy can be vital to regaining movement.

"When you’re in the water, you have a greater ability to move," said Sarah Sarah Stevicks,
Physical Therapy Assistant for Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital. "You can have somebody at 3, 31/2 or 4 feet of water and how is that safe? You’ve got them in the water. It takes a long time to fall in the water.”

The water, at 94-degrees, relaxes muscles and can provide relief from pain. Housed near the main therapy gym, the pool’s fun atmosphere combined with buoyancy, that feeling of weightlessness, are just some of the benefits water provides.

“Anything that’s going to move, is going to move easier in the water. Anything that moves under the water is going to have the resistance of the water. So you have strengthening," she said.

For patients in the water this type of rehab translates into real results on land more quickly.

"Probably the biggest thing is you see results. You see results quicker. 'Oh yeah, I can sit in the chair. I can reach forward and get my glass off the table or I can reach a call light' so you get a lot of very positive feedback.”

Spinal cord and brain injuries are just some of the patients who see aquatic therapists like Sarah. But she says even those dealing with orthopedic issues, arthritis and even Guillain-Barré syndrome or GBS, can benefit from the warm water therapy. The team works closely with the patient’s therapy team to determine whether aquatic therapy gets incorporated into their individualized recovery journey. Many times, though, patients sing its praises because ….

"What is not fun about this? That’s the best part. We can do things like we can jump around. We can just have a lot of fun."