Avera Medical Minute: Aquatic Therapy Delivers Many Benefits

 aquatic therapy in hydroworx
aquatic therapy in hydroworx (KSFY)
Published: Aug. 23, 2019 at 12:50 PM CDT
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Gary De Boer of Rock Rapids has been battling back pain for years, so when he had a chance to try aquatic therapy, he jumped right in.

"Well that's so much easier, I mean it just, there's nothing to it, you just get the same amount if not more of a benefit maybe, because I thought it was really doing pretty good," said De Boer.

Just a three-minute drive from his front door to the Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital in Rock Rapids, the hydroworx therapy pool is ready.

Avera Therapy Services Manager Matt Boer says he's known for years that water therapy could be beneficial for patients, but until now, all they could do is offer suggestions at a city pool, river or lake.

"Then you're not sure what they're doing how they're doing it, things like that, and now we can just be standing right there, keeping an eye on them. Got to stand up better, move your leg this way or that way, just to make sure they're doing it right. I think they're going to get more benefit out of it," said Boer.

Physical therapy in the water means patients could get a better workout. Often a doctor limits the amount of weight you can put on an area of your body after surgery or an injury, but being in the water changes that.

"If you're submerged in water roughly up to your chest height, you're decreasing the weight on your lower extremities by 75 percent," said Boer.

Depending on the area of the body being focused on, patients may be encouraged to stretch, kick, or use the treadmill.

"We can have them walk forward from point 2 miles per hour up to 10 miles per hour. Walking forward, we can have them walk backward, sideways, you can even turn that jet on, have resistance while they're walking, so just, you're really only limited by your imagination what we can do with that," said Boer.

The temperature is set at 92 degrees and Gary says once you get used to it, it's a really good therapeutic temperature. The other benefit to the hydroworx therapy, you get to have your workout in privacy, so you don't have to worry about other people watching you in a pool that others are using at the same time.

The combination of relaxed muscles and therapy while in the pool has really made a difference for Gary, who said he was in so much pain, he often walked hunched over. "Everybody says you look ten years younger! It was true, I was way ahead leaning," said De Boer.

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