What are the 10 most important methods in aquatic therapy?

During the last few years, aquatic therapy has become more powerful, due to the benefits of the immersion environment (hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, hydrokinetic and thermal water principles) and the greater access of the community to the swimming pool facilities.

Therefore, we intend to approach in a professional and academic way for all readers, the main methods of aquatic therapy that exist today, with their relevant characteristics and benefits in their users, but first of all it is necessary to differentiate hydrotherapy from the aquatic therapy.

The 10 most important methods in aquatic therapy.

What is and what are the characteristics of Hydroterapy?

Hydrotherapy, derives from the Greek words hydro: water and therapia: healing. In simple terms hydrotherapy as a modality (application of a physical agent to biological tissues in order to obtain therapeutic changes), based on the use of a great variety of equipment and accessories in the water, making it a comfortable and conducive means for treatment Of users with neurological, orthopedic and rheumatic alterations, among others.

Facilitates the execution of movements with less effort, providing the possibility of assisting or resisting it. Allows the relaxation and the decrease of the pain at the same time that it favors the socialization and it promotes psychological effects beneficial for the person.

What is and are the characteristics of Aquatic Therapy?

Aquatic Therapy is the therapeutic procedure (a way to produce changes through the application of clinical services or techniques in order to improve the function and usually requires the participation of the user), resulting from the combined use of aquatic means, techniques, Rehabilitation models and exercises designed by a qualified professional.

The 10 most important methods in aquatic therapy.

Approaching it in an individualized or group way, in order to produce in the person curative and recreational effects that facilitate the functionality, adhesion to the treatment and achievement of the objectives proposed for the same, taking advantage of the thermal and mechanical properties that it possesses.

In this way, aquatic therapy goes beyond integrating movements, favoring improvements in pain, circulation, muscle strength, balance, coordination and self-esteem of those who have the opportunity to access this type of treatment.

So … What are the 10 most relevant methods that exist in Aquatic Therapy?

1) Halliwick

A concept founded by James McMillan since 1950 as a swimming method for people with disabilities with neurological or motor control impairments, based on their knowledge of fluid mechanics, theoretical and observational considerations about the human body’s reactions in the aquatic environment.

This combination of fluid mechanics and neurobiological responses of the body resulted in a sensory-motor learning sequence, called the ten-point program (1. Mental adjustment, 2. Sagittal rotation control, 3. Transverse rotation control, 4. Longitudinal Rotation Control 5. Combined Rotation Control 6. Mental Inversion 7. Static Balance 8. Turbulence Displacement 9. Simple Progression 10. Halliwick Basic Motion.

Halliwick is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

This sequence takes a person from the adaptation to water, to the basic movement of swimming, being the main theme in the program, to achieve control over the rotations around the axes of movement of the body, which occur by the so-called “metacentric” effect “And this relationship is due to alterations and changes in the form and / or density that occur in a body with a disability.

Therefore, a thorough evaluation of the changes in density and shape is necessary to predict the rotational problems that a user with special needs might have.

Current references are Johan Lambeck and Urs Gamper.

2) Water Specific Therapy (WST):

Johan Lambeck, a disciple of James McMillan, was the Co-founder of the Halliwick Foundation, the Halliwick International Association and the IATF Association (International Network for Aquatic Therapy), who pioneered the Halliwick Method with Water Specific Therapy (WST).

Water Specific Therapy is created by Lambeck y Camber.

It focuses on the objectives of the ICF levels (function, structure, activity and participation), to achieve an increase in the quality of life; In addition, it is based on evidence and uses all elements of clinical reasoning, adapting to the profiles of competencies of health professionals.

Current references are Johan Lambeck and Urs Gamper.

3) Watsu:

The creator is Harold Dull, who joined the words Water and Shiatsu (millenary Japanese technique that supports healing processes), which corresponds to a series of passive movements of flexion, extension, traction and rotation performed by the physiotherapist in the middle aquatic, based on the Zen Shiatsu, providing, in turn, a state of relaxation that allows to reach the raised objectives (effective in relaxing and diminishing pains by the stress).

With the help of an aquatic therapist, the user’s body floats comfortably in a pool with tempered water (34 ° to 36 ° C) while muscles are massaged, joints mobilized, tissues are stretched, energy channels open and body pleasantly shaken by means of water.

Watsu is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

A characteristic that differentiates Watsu from massage and other body therapies is that it gives the opportunity to transcend the physical, for deep relaxation, warmth and weightlessness, mind and body can disconnect and be at peace, what remains is the essence fundamental of the “Being”.

The current benchmark remains Harold Dull.

4) Cranio-sacral Therapy in Water:

Its creator is the Physiotherapist and Osteopath, Elisa Muñoz Blanco, founder of WatsuPath, this powerful and subtle method is designed to balance the sacral skull rhythm and release the constraints of connective tissue throughout the body, combining the light touch of the Crania-sacral therapy with the benefits of the aquatic environment at 34ºC, to generate deep relaxation and personal growth.

Craniosacral therapy in water is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

The body is worked in all three dimensions, allowing the release of physical, emotional and mental blocks, since the user, when floating, can move the body in an uninhibited way that expresses the changes in tensions and mobility of the tissue and when free viscoelasticity, change and enter into a better functional alignment, triggering more movement of tissues, fluids and structures, facilitating the body’s own self-correcting mechanisms.

The referent is Elisa Muñoz Blanco.

5) Bad Ragaz Ring Method:

The cooperation between Egger and McMillan, an active technique in which the therapist offers manual resistance to the user, supported by auxiliary flotation materials in the form of rings, facilitating proprioception that activates weak muscles, increases muscle strength and stabilizes joints.

It follows the principles of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) or Kabat, but is adapted to the possibilities and difficulties of moving in an aquatic environment. It consists of a total of 23 three-dimensional patterns of arms, trunk and legs, which are limited to the level of function of the ICF, aimed at a specific task and/or goal oriented.

Bad Ragaz is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

The Kinesiologist or Physical Therapist provides the fixed point from which the user works. At the same time directs and controls all the parameters of the execution of the exercise, without the person being attached to any fixed site or equipment, although it can help with the elements or devices that modify the buoyancy.

Current references are Johan Lambeck and Urs Gamper.

6) Aichi:

It was created by the Japanese Jun Konno, and uses the benefits of different methods like Yoga (concentration), Aqua gym (physical work), Pilates (flexibility and strength) and Tai Chi (postures and paused movements), but adapted to water, Preset patterns, relaxing, broad, slow, continuous and fluid movements, combined with deep breathing and relaxing nature music.

The principles are the Yuan (circular movement for internal and external harmony), the Sung (relax, internally and externally, to promote blood circulation), Chig (not having the body in tension), Yun at a certain speed always controlled by the mind), Cheng (maintaining balance and posture), Shu (moving the body in an easy, comfortable and relaxed way) and Tsing (directing thought towards the mind, concentrating).

Ai Chi is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

Presents a sequence of 16 movements or patterns, which are: Contemplating, Floating, Rising, Closing, Calming, Grouping, Releasing, Transferring, Accepting, Accepting Grace, Surrounding, Flowing, Reflecting and Holding.

The current benchmark is Jun Konno.

7) Kaenz, The First Virtual Aquatic Therapist:

It was created by the Masters and Postgraduate in Physical Therapy, Kinesiologists, specialists in Aquatic Therapy Cristian Cortés Fernández and Beatriz Isler Muñoz and sophisticated applying disruptive technologies (Mixed reality, gamification and Artificial Intelligence) by Carlos Neira Carmona.

Kaenz, solves health problems, derived from sedentary lifestyle, such as body aches, obesity, cancer and cardio-metabolic diseases (diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol), through a platform or app with the first Virtual Aquatic Therapist, who guides with a mixed reality lens (virtual and augmented union), water exercises, according to your health condition and specific objectives.

It works very easy, you must place your smartphone with a protector in the viewfinder and during the session they will be auditively and visually displayed, the exercises that must be performed, using a float on the waist, to maintain a vertical position and thus take advantage of the properties water physicists, it is not necessary to know how to swim.

The person is advancing through the pool, performing the exercises indicated by the therapist, in addition to advancing to the next workout you must save aquatic animals that will appear in your viewfinder, accumulating points, in this way we convert the therapy as a game, making it more fun, with greater adherence and empowering patients.


Also, the sessions are developed in 4 stages: 1) Previous heating, 2) Aerobics training, 3) High Intensity Interval Training or High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) and 4) Back to the Calm.

(Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type and Density) and Principles of Training (Specificity and/or Individuality, Overcompensation and/or Overload, Adaptation and/or Accommodation, Progression and/or Periodization, Variability and/or Balance, Recovery, Reversibility and Fun).

8) Deep & Shallow Water Running:

It corresponds to a method of physical preparation and evaluation, characterized by a deep simulated stroke (Deep) or touching the pool floor (Shallow), usually assisted by a flotation vest or belt, where the person may be subject to edge of the pool by means of a strap, to increase the resistance and also to facilitate the monitoring of the exercise.

Deep Water Running is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

This method provides a high aerobic load, with reduced stress in the motor system, is used both in athletes and individuals during their rehabilitation process and cardiovascular supplementary training, in order to prevent injuries, promote recovery of intense exercise, within Sports preparation and also to maintain aerobic fitness during post-injury recovery.

9) Swimming for pregnant women:

It is aimed at pregnant women from 9 weeks of gestation, it is a safe method, suitable for physical exercise, for the physical principles of water, which eliminates joint impact, reduces edema or swelling of limbs and body pain; There is relief of anxiety and mental stress, in addition it favors an adequate development of the baby by increased blood flow and postpartum recovery, among other benefits.

Swimming for pregnant women is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

10) Aquatic motricity in infants:

Parents can be incorporated with their infants from the age of 4 months, the goal is for children to enjoy freely moving in the water in interaction with their parents and their therapists in such a way that the practice is one more element in their integral formation.

Cardiorespiratory aspects, psychomotor and motor control patterns in the sedentary, spinning, crawling, walking, displacement and reaching are worked, being extremely important the attachment and the emotional bond that is created with its parents; improving the child’s sleep and relaxation.

Finally you have to have a lot of consideration with the quality, temperature and chlorine levels of the water.

Aquatic motricity for babies is one of the most important methods in aquatic therapy.

Kaenz invitation

We have the conviction that Kaenz, will improve your health and well-being, being a great investment, to reduce expenses for medications, hospitalizations and avoid surgeries, we invite you to experience this first virtual aquatic therapist, which will change your habits, recharging energy, toning your body, keeping you young and positively impacting your quality of life, sharing with your loved ones.

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