Water, a seldom-thought-of source of healing, can help people recover from injuries. Greg Hill, Linfield athletic training clinical assistant professor of health and human performance, gave a presentation about aquatic rehabilitation on Nov. 17.
The lecture, titled “Concepts and Exercises Related to Aquatic Conditioning and Rehabilitation for the Lower Extremity,” focused on aquatic therapy for leg injuries occurring below the hips.
Roughly 50 people gathered in Room 201 of Riley Campus Center to listen to Hill introduce aquatic therapy and explain the principles of rehabilitation and aquatics.
Students in the Linfield Athletic Training Education Program, former Linfield and community coaches and other staff, faculty and students attended the lecture.
When a great portion of the human body is submerged in water, buoyancy works against gravity, and the body begins to weigh less. Hydrostatic pressure, the pressure exerted by a fluid, increases as the depth of the water increases, Hill said.
The water’s resistant force, or fluid resistance, also referred to as drag, is affected by the size, shape, speed and current drag on an object.
Hill labeled each of these, buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure and fluid resistance as aquatic principles.
To look upon the health care community, Hill said, aquatic therapy is “an extremely underutilized rehabilitation tool” and is not widely used because of limited availability of facilities.
Aquatic rehabilitation’s popularity is not a consequence of its practice or method.
“Those who have done it — they enjoy it,” Hill said. “I have yet to meet someone, either health care provider or patient, who, after experiencing it firsthand, didn’t enjoy it.”
Aquatic rehabilitation has some dangers and the treatment is not ideal for every individual, such as those who have deep vein thrombosis, or DVT; cardiovascular or cardiopulmonary disease, diabetes, and severe kidney disease, among other afflictions, Hill said during his lecture.
On the other hand, he said that rehabilitation in water increases ease of joint movement, improves body awareness and balance, promotes muscular relaxation and increases muscular strength and endurance.
“There is so much that can be done through the use of aquatics to improve quality of life and speed rehabilitation,” Hill said. “It’s unfortunate that it isn’t more widely recognized and utilized in that regard.”
While Hill aimed to build on the audience’s existing knowledge of the subject and to introduce new aspects, he said the lecture had a separate underpinning.
“My major point was that there are two approaches to rehabilitation: the traditional approach, which does not include aquatic rehabilitation, and the aquatic approach, which uses only aquatic rehabilitation,” Hill said. “Both of these approaches could become more effective by becoming more integrated.”
Within the next year, Hill said he intends to make the case for an integrated approach.
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