Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Safe Exercise Without Stresses:
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise because most of the muscles normally used in movement are involved, but without the stresses caused by weight-bearing exercise.
On land, each footfall creates a shock wave which travels up the limb and is absorbed by bones, tendons and joints. Whilst these forces are necessary to maintain healthy, strong bone, if severe or repetitive, these shockwaves can actually damage or weaken the limb, particularly an arthritic joint or one recovering from an injury or surgery.
Increased Range of Movement:
A decreased range of motion can often be due to pain, swelling or stiffness. The dog will have an increased range of movement in the water and the reduction of pain and swelling will allow further movement range.
Increased Circulation of Blood to the Muscles :
Warm water increases the circulation of blood to the muscles increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients and flushing away waste products, leading to muscle relaxation and a reduction in pain and stiffness. Improved circulation reduces swelling around an injured area and enhances healing from injury.
Hydrostatic Pressure :
Hydrostatic pressure applied by water can assist in reducing swelling by forcing body fluid away from affected areas.
Buoyancy reduces the load on weight-bearing joints, this helps to reduce pain and allows easier movement and exercise. Buoyancy of the water also means that sudden twists, stops and falls are impossible, making hydrotherapy a very safe form of exercise.
Muscle Strengthening :
Hydrotherapy tones most major muscle groups and improves general overall fitness. Movement in water is more difficult due to the resistance of the water. Water based exercise uses 30% more oxygen than similar land based exercise. Encouraging pain-free limb movement against the resistance of water, muscle bulk improves and muscle wastage is reversed.
Under water, the chest is under pressure form the force exerted by the water squeezing inwards. This means that every breath requires more effort – the muscles used, particularly in breathing in, have to work harder improving the whole cardiovascular system.
The heart has to work harder in order to meet the increased demand for nutrients by all the muscles which are being worked.
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