If you treat patients with cardiac conditions, aquatic therapy can be utilized as an alternative to medication and to safely increase activity tolerance. Simply immersing the body in water (utilizing hydrostatic pressure) provides so many benefits to multiple body systems, including the Cardiovascular System.
By utilizing a pool or underwater treadmill system for treatment, cardiac improvements can be seen in all patient populations, ranging from healthy and fit athletes, to geriatric patients with multiple co-morbidities.
Hydrostatic pressure significantly effects cardiovascular function by:
- Increasing central blood volume by up to 60%
- Increasing cardiac output
- Increasing stroke volume
- Decreasing heart rate
- Increasing cardiac muscle force
Increased cardiac blood volume increases the force of cardiac contraction, enhancing myocardial efficiency. With immersion alone, hydrostatic pressure helps to provide the same effects as medication: diastolic blood pressure is decreased secondary to the decrease in peripheral resistance. (This change persists for a period of hours post immersion).
Many common cardiac conditions benefit from immersion/aquatic therapy including:
- Hypertension- Immersion lowers blood pressure
Aquatic therapy is a good option to treat hypertension in patients that aren’t responding to drug treatments (aquatic therapy is contraindicated for uncontrolled hypertension).
- Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)– Improved aerobic capacity resulting in decreased resting heart rate and decreased body fat ratio.
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)-Immersion results in decreased systolic blood pressure and increased stroke volume and cardiac output.
While immersion and aquatic exercise provide many benefits for those suffering from cardiac impairments, it also provides benefits to healthy individuals, such as decreased body fat percentage, decreased submax heart rate and decreased submax VO2.
At Hudson, we offer a number of products that not only provide the benefits of immersion, but also the added benefits of an underwater treadmill. With multiple products and added options available, we’ve got what you need to offer aquatic treatment for all of your patients.