What is Hydrotherapy? Its Application, Indications, Contraindications & Precautions


What is Hydrotherapy? Its Application, Indications, Contraindications & Precautions


Hydrotherapy refers to the use of multi-depth immersion pools or tanks that

facilitate the application of various established therapeutic interventions including

stretching, joint mobilization, strengthening etc.

Application: To cure musculo-skeletal problems.

Indications for hydrotherapy:

1. Muscular problems: Muscular weakness, Muscle spasm, Tightness or contracture

of muscles.

2. Bony or skeletal problems: Inflammatory conditions of spine, Arthritis of

various joints, Post fracture stiffness.

3. Neurological Problems: Paralytic condition like polio, spinal cord injury,

brain injury.


1. Facilitate ROM exercises.

2. Initiate resistance exercises.

3. Facilitate weight exercises.

4. Facilitate cardiovascular exercises.

5. Enhance patient relaxation.

Properties of water:

Buoyancy: it is the upward force that works opposite to gravity. Buoyancy

provides the patient with relative weightlessness and joint unloading allowing

performance of active motion easily.

Hydrostatic pressure: it is the pressure exerted on the immersed objects. This

increased pressure reduces or limits effusion, assists venous return, induces Brady

cardia, and centralizes peripheral blood flow.

Viscosity: it is friction occurring between molecules of liquid resulting in resistance

to flow. It creates resistance to all active movements.

Surface tension: the surface of the fluid acts a membrane under tension. Surface

tension is measured as force per unit length. An extremity that moves through the surface will perform more work than if kept under water.

Hydromechanics: Hydromechanics is the physical properties and characteristics

of fluid in motion.


Laminar flow: Movements where all molecules move parallel to each other,

typically slow movement.

Turbulent flow: movement where molecules do not move parallel to each other,

typically faster movements.

Drag: the cumulative effects of turbulence and fluid viscosity acting on a object

in motion.

Center of buoyancy: the center of buoyancy is the reference point of an immersed

object upon which buoyant forces of fluid act. In vertical position, the

human center is located at the sternum.

Application of hydrotherapy in treatment:

1. Strengthening of muscle: the water provides a remarkable environment to

produce very fine exercise progression and it provides more resistance than air.

Muscles are strengthened by resistance may be offered by upward force, turbulence

force etc. Even manual resistance can be applied along with it.

2. Endurance training: muscular endurance refers to how many times the patient

can repeat a particular activity inside water. The endurance activity can be

performed against buoyancy, turbulence.

3. Joint mobility: relief of pain and muscle spasm by the warmth of the water

and by the support of buoyancy can restore free movement of joint.

4. Co-ordination and balance: the buoyancy of water relieves the patient from

weight and makes the activities like walking and step climbing easy.

5. Pain relief: hydrotherapy pool improves circulation and enable tissue fluid to

flow through the tissues thus facilitates removal of metabolites and improves



1. Infective wounds

2. Hyperpyrexia

3. cardiac failure

4. Deep vein thrombosis.

5. Gastro intestinal disorder

6. Hypo or Hypertension

7. Epilepsy

8. Low vital lung capacity


1. AIDS – The person suffering from AIDS should not be allowed in pool if any

have a recent cut.

2. If the person is mentally retarded.

3. If the person is wearing contact lens.

4. If the person is wearing any hearing aids.

5. Patients have fear of water.

6. Cardiac dysfunction: patients with angina and abnormal blood pressure require

close monitoring.

7. Patients with epilepsy.

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