A woman smiles during aquatic therapy in a pool.

Aquatic therapy

Water therapy to help with your recovery

When recovering from an injury or surgery, such as a joint replacement or sports-related surgery, water-based treatments offer extra benefit. In the water, you can move with more ease and build strength in muscles to prevent atrophy and improve your mobility.

Aquatic therapy refers to physical therapy performed in a pool. In the pool, water helps support your weight, which puts less stress on joints and muscles. The cool water temperature can also reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation.

Our aquatic therapy program is led by board-certified physical therapists who use the latest techniques and equipment, including underwater motion-analysis cameras and treadmills. We work with patients of all abilities and ages, from teenagers to seniors. You can make an aquatic therapy appointment at our Bloomington and Woodbury locations.

How our aquatic therapy program works

Aquatic therapy can be effective on its own or may be combined with other forms of land-based therapy. Before you head to the pool, we perform an initial assessment where we talk about your condition or injury, and personal or athletic goals. We’ll also want to know if you’re comfortable in a pool.

You don’t need to know how to swim to benefit from aquatic therapy but being comfortable in and near water is important. The pool you’ll be exercising in won’t be more than five feet deep so it’s conducive for pool therapy exercises. You won’t need to put your head underwater or get your hair wet. Our pools are kept at around 90° F so you can glide in the water with greater ease.

We also offer an option of the Hydroworx pool at our Woodbury location, which uses underwater treadmills and video motion capture. This helps us correct any movement issues to make sure you get back to peak sport performance after your recovery.

Each session is about 45 minutes long. We ask that you arrive 15 minutes early so that you have enough time to change before your session.

Aquatic therapy is great for people of all ages and conditions, but it’s especially helpful for people who struggle with land-based exercises. If you suffer from fibromyalgia or have weight-bearing restrictions, it can be a safer way to exercise.

The specific water exercises you’ll be doing in the pool will vary and will often be personalized to your condition. How often you incorporate aquatic therapy into your sessions will also depend on your personal goals.

Benefits of aquatic therapy

Water’s natural therapeutic properties such as resistance, warmth and buoyancy reduce stress on your joints and tissues – and that can help speed up the healing process.

Additional benefits of aquatic therapy include:

  • Develops core strength
  • Minimizes swelling
  • Reduces pain
  • Improves range of motion
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Builds strength, muscle tone and balance
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Aquatic therapy can be a good fit for a wide range of patients. We see people of all ages and abilities who are recovering from surgery or an injury. Whether you’re a professional athlete, an avid gym-goer or someone who wants to get back to their nightly neighborhood walks, aquatic therapy may fit well into your treatment plan.

If you have questions about aquatic therapy, ask your physical therapist or orthopedist if it would be a good fit for you.

Please bring the items you’d normally take to the pool or beach for a light workout.

  • Bathing suit or any non-white gym shorts or t-shirt to wear in the pool
  • Towel
  • Water bottle
  • Dry clothes for after your session
  • Nonslip water shoes (optional)

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, PreferredOne and many others.

You can check with your insurance to see if your plan covers part or all of the services needed. Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: