Benefits of pool physical therapy

pool physical therapy ottawa

Swimming is an activity that people of all ages can enjoy, from a toddler splashing in a wading pool to seniors finding a satisfying form of exercise.  Did you know that a pool can also be a huge benefit if you need to have physiotherapy?  That’s right.  Here are some of the positive aspects of using hydrotherapy or swimming in your recuperation program.  

Low Impact

Because of the body’s buoyancy in water, there is little impact on the joints.  That means it makes the muscles absorb the work.

  • Back – The simple act of bobbing up and down in the water will allow your muscles to relax.  Work with your physiotherapist to identify the pain locations and the specific muscles that are affected.  He or she will be able to recommend movements that will help release the tension that will help.  Floating may be one of those movements because it does not require any twisting or bending.
  • Knees – Running, cycling and lifting weights can all put a great deal of stress on joints, especially knees and hips.  Swimming is often recommended by physiotherapists because of its resistance training qualities and ability to provide a very comprehensive workout.  


Excess stress can cause muscle spasms and can be a contributing factor to some medical conditions.  Eliminating the source of stress is always the first recommendation, but quite often swimming is a good choice.  Just a nice float in a quiet pool can be refreshing, as well as swimming laps.  Reports are showing the benefits of swimming in relieving some of the symptoms of arthritis and fibromyalgia.


Most people associate swimming with fun.  They remember long summer days paddling in the water with family and friends.  Memories probably include the strange game of Marco Polo.  One of the nice things is that you can make the experience as seriously and competitively or as simply as you want.  


In short, swimming is a low impact form of exercise that has the advantage of being a good resource for individuals of all ages.  You can do it alone, in pairs, and in large or small groups.  Most areas have local pools and many offer classes or opportunities.  If you are trying to rehab from some illness or injury, your medical team may seriously recommend specific exercises or the services of a physiotherapist.   

Water exercises will:

  • Build muscle strength because of resistance
  • Ease of movement
  • Buoyancy lessens the impact when rehabbing 
  • Water therapy can support injured joints and muscles while providing exercise
  • Builds coordination through rhythm

Speak with your physician and see if swimming can be beneficial to any conditions you may suffer from, or if it can improve your general health and well being.  If physiotherapy is part of your regimen ask about the opportunities to incorporate swimming into the program.

If you have any questions, Apollo/Ottawa Physiotherapy is happy to help clarify any matters and to see if we can be of benefit to you or your family.