Using Water-Based Exercise as Rehabilitation for Injury

Updated: Aug 1


How assisted stretching in water with AquaStretch can improve your injury recovery time


A pair of crutches resting on an injured foot in a blue cast

If you’ve suffered from an injury to your joints or muscles, it can be hard to find the right exercises or activities that allow you to maintain your current levels of fitness without risking further injury.


Depending on the nature of the injury, it can take anything from a few weeks to several months to fully recover. No doubt you’d love to be able to get back to “normal” as soon as possible. But as well as being in pain, often you won’t be allowed to put weight on the injured part of your body so as not to cause further damage and slow the healing process. And if you don’t exercise you’re at risk of muscle wasting and stiff joints simply because you’re not using all of your body. Which in turn can cause further problems with rehabilitation further down the line.


It can feel like a vicious circle, but that’s where assisted stretching in water – like AquaStretch – can help. We’re used to seeing elite athletes plunging themselves into ice water baths immediately after a competition or training session. Some athletes use contrast water therapy, i.e. alternating immersion in cold and warm water. Whichever method they choose their aim is to reduce muscle pain and soreness, which helps them speed up their recovery time so they can get “back in the game” within the shortest possible timeframe. Plus it’s a useful way to pre-empt any potential for injury.


You may have heard of water-based therapy before, perhaps referred to as hydrotherapy, aquatic therapy, pool therapy, or balneotherapy. However it’s named, the use of water for various treatments is probably as old as mankind, and there is plenty of scientific evidence of its effectiveness in treating a range of conditions.


Used correctly, water-based assisted stretching is a marvellous tool for supporting you in recovery from injury. It allows you to move without experiencing any jarring or jolting of the injured muscle or joint that you might get with land-based exercises. With AquaStretch, your near-total immersion in water means that its buoyant properties will allow you to achieve a wide range of motion without any significant negative impact on your injury.


What is AquaStretch?

therapist treating a client in a swimming pool setting

AquaStretch is a myofascial release technique. Fascia is the connective tissue that lies beneath the skin and encapsulates, as well as separates, your muscles and organs. This tissue essentially acts like a spider web throughout the whole body. When it gets damaged, fascia is sticky, clumpy, tight, and flaky and it forms restrictions, adhesions, and distortions. It’s essential to repair the fascia after injury since it may be a key contributor to your pain.


The unique properties of water allow for a different training environment than land-based exercise. Unlike exercising on land and working against gravity, water can provide support to improve your range of motion and provide resistance. Using different weights and other especially designed equipment, I work with you in the water to guide you through a range of assisted stretches, targeting your injury with the aim of releasing and repairing your fascia, reducing your pain and giving you back your full mobility.


Main benefits of using AquaStretch to help recovery from injury


  • The resistance of the water allows ease of movement while reducing your pain

  • The buoyancy of the water reduces the impact and stress on your body, supporting your injured muscles and joints during recovery

  • The hydrostatic pressure (the weight of the water) on your injury reduces any muscle inflammation and improves your range of motion, it also improves blood supply and circulation

  • The relaxing effect of the water can contribute to the suppression of your sympathetic nervous system, which can have positive effects on your pain

  • The sensory input from the water will help your body feel more in balance, giving you feelings of confidence and stability

underwater view of patient performing leg exercises in a swimming pool

Injuries that can benefit from an AquaStretch programme

  • Soft tissue injuries: We can use the resistance of water to rehabilitate and progress your exercises

  • Rehabilitation post-surgery: You will be able to start moving earlier with the aid of the water

  • Hip/knee or other joint replacements: AquaStretch can help prepare you for surgery and help you strengthen and regain movement post-surgery

  • Shoulder surgery and injury: The water can help you regain movement and strength

Next steps


AquaStretch can work for all ages and abilities and sessions can take from 30 minutes to an hour each depending on what you want to achieve. So if your recovery from injury isn’t progressing as fast as you would like, please contact me for more information on how regular AquaStretch sessions can help.


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