The Aquatic Therapy Program at Physical Therapy Center of Ocean Springs • Biloxi • Gulfport focuses on Aquatic Therapeutic Exercise in our heated pool with a licensed Physical Therapist. The Aquatic Physical Therapy Program is beneficial for a variety of medical conditions including chronic pain, orthopedic injuries, and arthritis. Buoyancy, viscosity, resistance, as well as the elevated temperature of the water allows for comfortable strengthening while decreasing joint stress and pain. Water temperatures between 92-94 degrees are considered thermo-neutral and aids in reducing pain and stiffness associated with many functional limitations. There is also a handicap lift, with a 450 pound capacity, for patients requiring assistance getting in and out of the pool.

Aquatic Physical Therapy interventions are designed to improve or maintain:
  • Function
  • Aerobic Capacity/Endurance Conditioning
  • Balance, Coordination and Agility
  • Body Mechanics and Postural Stabilization
  • Flexibility
  • Gait and Locomotion
  • Relaxation
  • Muscle Strength, Power, and Endurance
Interventions used in Aquatic Physical Therapy include, but are not limited to, therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy, breathing strategies, electrotherapeutic modalities, physical agents and mechanical modalities using the properties of water and techniques unique to the aquatic environment.

Abbreviated Definition of Aquatic Physical Therapy:

Aquatic Physical Therapy is the scientific practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by physical therapists and physical therapists assistants. Aquatic Physical Therapy includes but is not limited to treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness and fitness of patient/client populations in an aquatic environment. The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance treatments for patients/clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) diseases, disorders, or conditions.

Abbreviated Definition of Aquatic Physical Therapists:

Aquatic Physical Therapists are licensed physical therapists who perform an examination and evaluation to establish a functional diagnosis, prognosis for functional recovery, and need for PT treatment with a plan of care. Aquatic Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants provide PT treatments in a safe aquatic environment taking into consideration transition to land based functional activities and communication with the patient-care team.

What is the difference between "aquatic physical therapy" and "aquatic exercise"?

The difference is that aquatic physical therapy requires the "skilled service" of a PT and/or PTA which may include:
  • The clinical reasoning and decision making skills of a PT/PTA;
  • The patient has impairments and/or disabilities which can be minimized or eliminated with aquatic physical therapy;
  • The patient has potential to maximize functional goals/outcomes to improve quality of life and ease burden of care; and
  • The implementation of such therapy must comply with all standards of care which impact all other treatment services.
Aquatic Exercise is the utilization of water for the implementation of quality of life, fitness-related or general health-related goals; can be delivered in a group setting that includes multiple clients and diagnoses; can be delivered by an individual other than a licensed physical therapist or physical therapy assistant; and usually has little or no accompanying paperwork, insurance involvement or written follow-up information required.

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