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Aqua Treadmill for therapy and rehabilitation | Primedeq-Blog

Underwater Treadmill

Hydrotherapy is a branch of alternative medicine (particularly naturopathy), occupational therapy, and physiotherapy/ rehabilitation, involving the use of water for pain relief and treatment. It is also called by different names like water therapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy or balneotherapy. Hydrotherapy may involve giving heat and cold application through – Fomentations, packs (hot or cold or icepacks), hot air and steam baths or general water baths (such as those taken at home), Sitz bath (sitting), spinal, head, and foot baths, bandages or compresses; or through submerging all or part of the body in water using several types of equipment, e.g., Full body immersion tanks, Arm, hip, and leg whirlpool or aqua treadmill. Hydrotherapy also includes the use of pressurized jets.

Underwater treadmills are used for therapy in humans as well as animals like horse and dogs. These water treadmills or aqua treadmills are good source of exercise and rehabilitation, especially, for people who are suffering from muscle or joint related ailments. Aquatic therapy is often recommended to help with exercise and recovery. The natural buoyancy of water provides a low impact workout that helps joints and muscles to relax. The hydro treadmills today come with adjustable water temperatures and water levels, therefore being the best for rehab, fitness training and weight control or physical therapy.

How Aqua Treadmills help with physical therapy?

A water treadmill or aqua treadmill, exploits certain physical properties of water, such as buoyancy, viscosity, hydrostatic pressure, and temperature. These properties together with prescription of depth of the water and the velocity of the treadmill provide a combination of parameters that can be used for rehabilitation, treatment or fitness training.  A variety of patient’s benefits from this type of therapy – related to injury due to accident or sports, pre or post medical procedure, geriatric issues and more.

The following are the various types of treatments popular with aqua treadmill:

  • Joint and muscle relaxation 

Elderly people with joint and muscle pain may find relief with underwater treadmill therapy. For people with chronic conditions like osteoarthritis, activities like walking on the aqua treadmill can cure or significantly reduce the pain. Patients bear much less than their body weight while they are in water. Unweighing systems can additionally help in reduce the weight bearing by the patient. An aqua treadmill can reduce swelling, relax joints, improve strength, and boost flexibility.

  • Gait training
    Aqua Treadmills are the best tool for low impact gait training for patients who find it difficult to walk. Gait training on the underwater treadmill ensures physical therapy without worries of falling and hurting further.
  • Cardiovascular stamina improvement
    The cardiovascular stamina improves a lot by using an underwater treadmill. Longer exercise durations combined with the heightened resistance of the water generates greater cardiovascular endurance resulting in better on-ground physical stamina too.
  • Increase Flexibility
    Another great health benefit of the underwater treadmill is that it increases the flexibility of the patient. The sensory effects of water relax the joints and muscles which result in higher flexibility when combined with the various movements and cardiovascular activities.
  • Muscle strengthening
    When a person runs or walks in an underwater treadmill, the viscosity of water puts a great amount of exertion on the body. This improves a patient’s physical strength and increases their stamina.

Advantages of Aqua Treadmill

The buoyancy of water creates a low-stress environment for joints and sore muscles and therapeutic warm water temperature, encourage muscle relaxation, soothes pain, and improves blood circulation. Improved blood flow to injured muscles and areas of the body encourages healing.

Physical therapists using an aqua treadmill usually begin with gentle range of motions. When immersed underwater, the body feels less gravity and more support, but also provides an additional level of resistance. The biggest impediment for an injured patient starting physical therapy is fear of fall or pain. Patients feel safer in water as they are unlikely to get hurt as compared to falling on land. The buoyancy and support from the water encourages them to start with gentle motions and stretch themselves further without realising the effort. Varying water temperature can soothe and heal. A good physical therapist uses these benefits of water to increase the patient’s range of motion sooner than it may be possible on normal treadmill on land.

All of this leads to some patients being pleasantly surprised to find that their cardiovascular stamina, strength and flexibility of muscle movement have improved significantly.

Here are three major advantages of using an aqua treadmill:

  1. Low impact – Reduces strain on Joints
  2. Temperature variance – Healing and improved blood Circulation
  3. Feels safer and easier – Speedy recovery

Features to evaluate when buying an Aqua Treadmill

The following are some of the various features to check out for when evaluating an Aqua treadmill machine, based on your patient mix and treatment needs:

  • Large exercise chamber suitable for various types of exercises such as – walking, retro-walking, sprinting, shuffling, back- pedalling, and plyometric activities as well as different kinds of patients – injured, sports teams or bariatric patients.
  • Unweighing capabilities,
  • Automatic water filling, draining, level adjustments
  • Variable resistance and Speed settings
  • Heating and Temperature control
  • UV Sterilization
  • Water pressure jets
  • Water filtration system
  • Display unit for speed, distance and time etc.
  • Programmable treatments
  • Safety systems such as Hand-rails, seats for rehab and other support systems
  • Feedback and monitoring – sensors and software to give real-time data through cloud connectivity, about users’ postural balance analysis, performance, step length and gait patterns
  • Advanced split belt system for different speed for right & left legs. Reverse and decline feature.

If you are looking for an aqua treadmill / underwater treadmill or any other physiotherapy and rehabilitation equipment, please contact


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