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Hydrotherapy (aquatic therapy)

Water therapy can help to reduce pain and provide support to aid your rehabilitation.

Patient and physiotherapist doing hydrotherapy (aquatic therapy) in a pool
Hydrotherapy, also known as aquatic therapy, is physiotherapy performed in a warm water pool. The effects of the water and warm temperature can help to reduce pain and provide support to aid your rehabilitation. It works by gently warming your muscles to help them relax and ease any pain in your joints.

You will be asked to perform a range of specially tailored movements in the pool both with and against the water. These will help to strengthen your muscles while the water surrounds you to support your body.

Hydrotherapy is different to aqua-aerobics, which is a higher-intensity form of exercise. Instead, it is generally more focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.

If you are living with pain that's affecting your quality of life or want support during your rehabilitation after surgery, hydrotherapy could be a great option to help you feel better. Get in touch today to arrange a session with a physiotherapist to find out if hydrotherapy could help you.

The cost of hydrotherapy starts from £64 for your first appointment.* This is based on an initial 45-minute appointment and includes a full assessment and treatment plan.

The cost of follow-up appointments starts from £50.*

The cost of your total physiotherapy treatment will depend on various factors such as your condition, how many sessions you need and what type of treatment you are recommended. Your therapist will discuss this with you as part of your treatment planning.

You do not need a GP referral to access hydrotherapy services.

*This is a guide price and may vary. You'll be told the exact cost before you book.

Hydrotherapy can provide patients with a wide range of benefits. The aquatic pools are heated to around 34°C - the optimum temperature for muscles to relax. The water helps to provide an environment where you could benefit from:

  • Increased range of motion and flexibility in your joint(s)
  • Increased muscle activity and strength
  • Low-impact form of exercise
  • Increasing confidence and motivation, to complement or prior to traditional land-based exercise

During your hydrotherapy session, you'll be accompanied by an experienced aquatic physiotherapist who has undertaken specialist training to maximise the benefits of hydrotherapy. They will guide you through a series of movements and exercises, either working with the water or against the water to help improve your mobility and strength.

The sessions will usually last for 30 minutes, but your physiotherapist will confirm this with you before your session.

The side effects of hydrotherapy are minimal.

The warm temperature of the water and exercise can make you feel a little tired after the session. It's important to ensure you remain hydrated and drink plenty of water following your appointment. Any tiredness or post-exercise soreness should be short-lived. it's a safe form of exercise and there are no known serious aftereffects. If you have any concerns, your physiotherapist will be happy to discuss these with you.

Hydrotherapy can be used to treat and rehabilitate a wide range of conditions, including:

Hydrotherapy can be a good addition to your physiotherapy programme as you recover from an injury or surgery. Moving in water provides a low-resistance way to exercise safely as the water helps to hold your body weight. Working out in water is often recommended to people who experience pain during other types of workouts, too.

Every person is unique. Your physiotherapist will work with you on an individualised exercise program and give you support during your treatment which will be tailored to your specific needs and requirements.

Here are some frequently asked questions patients ask about hydrotherapy:

Do I need to be able to swim?

You do not need to be able to swim or get your head wet to participate in a hydrotherapy treatment session. Your physiotherapist can adapt your treatment to suit your needs, so if you're not confident in the water, they can advise on appropriate exercises whilst keeping your feet on the floor.

Access to the pool is either by a set of steps with handrails, or by a hoist if you are unable to access the steps.

Are group sessions available?

For those who have been discharged from physiotherapy but would like to continue their hydrotherapy exercises, we offer group 'splash sessions'. These group sessions are open to previous patients who can continue their programmes under supervision. If you are interested in participating in one of our splash sessions, speak to your physiotherapist who will be able to provide you with all the information you require.

What will I need to bring with me?

When attending your hydrotherapy session you should bring with you the following items:

  • A swimming costume
  • A towel
  • A change of clothes
  • Goggles (optional)
  • Swim cap (optional)

Your physiotherapist will advise you before your session if there are any specific items you should bring with you.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • Freedom to choose your hospital and physiotherapist
  • Specialist physiotherapy equipment and imaging facilities at your fingertips
  • Specialist advice and exercises to follow in sessions and at home
  • Tailored services (your physiotherapist will build your programme around your needs)

If you would like to learn more about how hydrotherapy could benefit you, give us a call today.

Content reviewed by Circle physiotherapy team in June 2023. Next review due June 2026.

  1. Hydrotherapy, Cleveland Clinic
  2. Aquatic therapy (Hydrotherapy), Versus Arthritis
  3. Hydrotherapy: Types of treatments, Medical News Today
  4. Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body, NIH
  5. Hydrotherapy,

Specialists offering Hydrotherapy (aquatic therapy)

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