5 contraindications that may prevent you from seeking aquatic therapy

August 6, 2022

Every type of treatment has its own contraindications. For example, allergies prevent you from taking certain medications, and pregnancy prevents you from undergoing certain medical procedures.

Aquatic therapy has some contraindications of its own. While it has many benefits, especially with regard to physical rehabilitation, certain people are advised to avoid aquatic therapy due to preexisting conditions.

We’ll dive into a list of aquatic therapy’s contraindications below.

5 possible aquatic therapy contraindications

If you currently have one or more of the following conditions, you should consult your physician or aquatic therapy specialist before seeking this treatment.

1. High blood pressure or cardiac conditions — Like many cardio exercises, aquatic therapy (and swimming in general) are proven to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. However, intense activity can raise the blood pressure too high in patients who aren’t prepared for the workout. Your doctor may want you to undergo a cardiology exam before approving you for aquatic therapy.

2. Epilepsy or a history of seizures — In the early 1900s, hydrotherapy (another name for aquatic therapy) was thought to be a cure for epilepsy, although your doctor may not recommend it these days. The risk of an epileptic seizure leading to water inhalation may be too high for your physician to feel comfortable recommending aquatic therapy as a treatment option.

3. Compromised immune system — Swimming pools expose swimmers to a range of bacteria, including cryptosporidium, which can cause life-threatening symptoms in people with compromised immune systems. People with cancer, HIV and other immunodeficiencies may be advised against aquatic therapy for this reason.

4. Open wounds Open woods are a temporary aquatic therapy contraindication. The patient may have to wait until the wound heals or wrap their wound in a covering to reduce the risk of exposure.

5. Fever — People experiencing fevers should wait until their fever passes to take part in aquatic therapy so that they don’t expose other patients to the illness causing their fever.

What to do if you have one of these contraindications

To be clear, having one of the conditions on the list of aquatic therapy contraindications above does not mean that you are barred from aquatic therapy. However, your therapist will likely want to discuss your condition with you and your primary care doctor before your treatment starts to ensure that it is a safe option.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch aquatic therapy

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can provide the aquatic therapy services you’re seeking. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective aquatic therapy services in your area.