Aquatic therapy involves performing exercises and activities in the water. The purpose of aquatic therapy is to improve health. Some people prioritize physical health benefits. Exercising in the water reduces the strain on your joints, making it ideal for people recovering from sprains and broken limbs.
Aquatic therapy also offers multiple mental health benefits. Proximity to water causes the human body to release neurochemicals that promote relaxation. Water is soothing, and people tend to be healthier and happier when they spend time near or in the water. Aquatic therapy can benefit people with a wide range of health issues. It also offers unique benefits for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease. It’s one of the most common causes of death in the United States and affects more than 5 million Americans. As Alzheimer’s progresses, it attacks the brain and causes cells to die. This progressive disease causes people to lose their memory and the ability to perform routine tasks. People with Alzheimer’s may be confused, and it’s common for their behavior and personality to change. Some individuals become aggressive or irritable. Alzheimer’s can also cause paranoia and depression. People with Alzheimer’s may eventually have difficulty walking, dressing, bathing, and feeding themselves.
How does aquatic therapy physically benefit those with Alzheimer’s?
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 80% of people with Alzheimer’s are 75 years of age or older. It’s common for elderly individuals to suffer from loss of bone and muscle mass. Common age-related health issues include problems with balance and coordination.
Exercising in water is an effective way for people to build muscle mass and reduce the risk of breaks and sprains from falls. People with Alzheimer’s can physically benefit from engaging in a safe exercise routine that can help them regain their strength and range of motion.
Insomnia affects some people with Alzheimer’s. Increased activity levels from aquatic therapy can help promote a healthy sleep cycle.
How does aquatic therapy mentally benefit those with Alzheimer’s?
People with Alzheimer’s can complete water-based activities effectively, which boosts their self-confidence. Repeating activities can also improve their cognitive abilities. Since people naturally benefit from proximity to water, Alzheimer’s patients may find they’re calmer, and that water-based activities reduce their feelings of anxiety.
What resources are needed for aquatic therapy?
Aquatic therapy programs are run by qualified therapists who create an exercise and activity program designed to meet participants’ needs.
It’s also possible to benefit from aquatic therapy by using a pool in your backyard. A Google search for “pool contractors Tampa” will direct you to expert pool installers who can customize a pool for your unique needs. Add a waterfall to benefit from the soothing sound of flowing water. Your pool can be used for physical exercise. Supplement your aquatic therapy classes by practicing exercises and engaging in water-based activities at home to maximize an aquatic therapy program’s benefits.
You may also use beach balls, pool noodles, and other water toys as part of your aquatic therapy program.
What are other treatment options for Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is managed with medication that can alleviate the symptoms. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet, but cholinesterase inhibitors can reduce the frequency of the behavioral issues associated with the disease. Cholinesterase inhibitors may also reduce the severity of memory loss or slow the process.
Insomnia and sleep cycle changes are treated by reducing caffeine and increasing exercise. Maintaining a regular meal schedule also promotes consistent sleep patterns. Some individuals also opt for alternative treatments, such as consuming antioxidants, coconut oil, and caprylic acid.
Other conditions can be treated with aquatic therapy.
Aquatic therapy is used to slow the loss of muscle mass caused by muscular dystrophy (MD). In addition to Alzheimer’s, aquatic therapy is also used to treat other neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. People who’ve suffered from a stroke can also benefit mentally and physically. Patients with arthritis and multiple sclerosis (MS) may use aquatic therapy to rebuild muscle mass and increase mobility.
Aquatic therapy is also an effective form of exercise for individuals with chronic pain because of the lack of strain on their muscles and joints. People who are obese may also use aquatic therapy as part of their weight loss program.