Aquatic Therapy; Water Rehabilitation

What is aquatic therapy or aquatherapy? Simply stated, aquatic therapy is using water for rehabilitation purposes. The reality is that aquatherapy is far from a simple rehabilitation tool.  Aquatic therapy is a diverse and effective means of rehabilitation limited only by the imagination of the treating aquatic therapy professional.  

Aquatic therapy is both simple and complex. It is simple because it uses a naturally occurring medium which is readily available. It is complex because its usefulness and scope is limited only by the imagination of the treating  aquatherapy professional. 

The human body has a special relationship with water. The body is made of 60-70% water. The beginning of life through the embryological stages of development takes place in the womb where the embryo is immersed in amniotic fluid – basically water.  Two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water. The only thing humans are dependent on more than water is air. Human life can carry on for one month without food, but only a few days at most without water. Water plays important roles in many religious ceremonies.

Water is a special medium.

Aquatic therapy makes use of the many special properties of water to provide rehabilitation for a multitude of conditions, many of which would be difficult or impossible to rehabilitate on dry land. Our clinic is proud to offer aqua therapy in Toronto.

One of the fundamental benefits of aquatic therapy involves making use of the buoyancy principle to decrease one’s body weight in the water and provide weight bearing exercises with much reduced stress on injured or diseased joints. Water supports limbs during exercise that would otherwise be too difficult or painful to support or move without the buoyancy effect. Aquatic therapy is also used to unload the spine and provide rest to muscles that normally work to support the body in the upright position while on land.

Due to the fact that buoyancy decreases the stability of the body in water, the need to stabilize the whole body is increased when performing aquatic therapy. In addition to the primary muscles being exercised, this principle causes engagement of muscle groups that provide the body with stability and balance.  This leads to both strength and stability being addressed simultaneously, increasing efficiency of aquatic therapy over land based exercises.

Another important principle of water is its higher viscosity or resistance properties compared to air but less than gravity. This creates increased resistance when limbs move through the water compared to air and less than gravity when trying to support the body or individual limbs in water. The resistance in water is dependent on speed of movement allowing the exerciser to continually adjust the resistance to their maximal ability. This is a form of exercise called isokinetic exercise which encourages maximization of exercise effort throughout a full range of motion while minimizing overuse of the affected limbs/joints. When you need sports therapy in Toronto, this is an amazing option.

Water also provides increased surface pressure to the body reducing swelling in injured or inflamed areas while providing a continual gentle massage during aqua-therapy.

Water can either cool or warm the body. Aquatic therapy from our sports medicine clinic in Toronto can keep the body cool while exercising allowing one to have an intense aerobic workout and come out refreshed. Due to the decreased heat load, many individuals with exercise restrictions due to cardiac, respiratory or other physiologic limitations are able to perform aquatic therapy with fewer limitations compared to land based rehabilitation. Warm water aquatic therapy is used to help relieve stiffness in arthritic joints and tension in sore or overused muscles.

In summary, water is an essential part of life which provides added exercise benefits through its special properties of buoyancy, resistance, hydrostatic pressure and temperature. This property makes aqua therapy in Toronto completely versatile allowing the weakest and the strongest to maximize their rehabilitation and recovery efforts.


  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures
  • Disc herniations of the neck and back
  • Running injuries such as runners knee,
  • Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Patellar tendonitis
  • Shin splints,
  • Stress fractures,
  • Achilles tendinosis (tendonitis),
  • iliotibial band syndrome
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Foot problems such as plantar fasciitis and tendonitis
  • Ankle joint sprains
  • Muscle strains including quadriceps, groin, hamstring and abdominal strains or tears
  • Chronic back and neck pain
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Fractures of the extremities and spine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other arthritis
  • Pre-operative joint replacement
  • Post-operative joint replacements, rotator cuff repairs, ACL injuries
  • Obesity
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain
  • And much more...

Aquatic therapy is unfortunately not commonly available.

At the Toronto Centre for Sports Medicine, we are pleased to offer aquatic therapy rehabilitation programs for all the conditions listed above and many more. Our sports medicine clinic in Toronto has been at the forefront of rehabilitation since our inception in 1992 and is committed to providing our clients with the best in rehabilitation.

All patients are medically screened before receiving sports therapy in Toronto to ensure that aquatic therapy is safe for them.

See you at the pool!!