Aquatic Therapy Center Opens at Mercy Regional Health Center

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Mercy Rehabilitation Services is excited to announce the opening of its new Aquatic Therapy Center, located at Mercy Rehab West (315 Seth Child Road) in Manhattan.

Aquatic therapy (sometimes referred to as pool therapy) will be offered to patients undergoing rehabilitation treatment with the Mercy Rehab Services staff, in conjunction with Mercy's other physical therapy treatment options.

The state-of-the art pool (HydroWorx® 500 Series) was installed at Mercy Rehab West - in the former Mercy Fitness Center space - in September.

"It has been amazing to watch this entire process bloom from an idea on our wish list, then transition to a huge hole in the ground, and now to a functioning pool," Brian Howells, Mercy Rehab Services supervisor and physical therapist, said. "This will enable us at Mercy Rehab West to provide a much-needed service for the community. This is a wonderful new environment for those who need this kind of rehabilitation."

Aquatic physical therapy is the practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by physical therapists and physical therapists' assistants, according to the American Physical Therapy Association - Aquatic Physical Therapy Section. The therapy pool at Mercy West has an underwater camera, an underwater treadmill, and resistance jets to help tailor therapy for each patient's injuries.

The underwater treadmill is one of the most important features because it allows patients to practice walking and running against resistance, while at the same time minimizing the effects of gravity and weight bearing.

Along with the treadmill, the therapists will have the ability to video patients as they work in the pool, whether they are walking on the treadmill, swimming, or participating in water exercises. The video can be used to analyze the gait pattern of patients in the water so that patients can make healthy adjustments out of the water.

Specific conditions that can be treated at Mercy's Aquatic Therapy Center include: arthritis; post-surgery rehab; total joint replacements; ACL knee reconstruction; strokes; brain injuries; neurological conditions; and back pain, injuries and surgeries.

"The biggest benefit for our patients is that aquatic therapy minimizes the impact of body weight on joints," Howells said. "Aquatic therapy provides an exercise alternative for those who may be suffering from great pain with normal exercise."

Aquatic therapy uses the soothing and resistant properties of water to assist in the healing process. Patients can expect to experience numerous benefits from aquatic therapy: massaging of sore or tired muscles; resistance training without the need for weights; reduced pressure of gravity on the body; improved blood flow to the injured area; and decreased swelling.

Mercy's physical therapists have been preparing for the new aquatic therapy center by attending special trainings and conferences.

"While it is not necessary that our PTs have additional training to do aquatic therapy, we have already had our therapists and assistants go to training seminars sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association - Aquatic Physical Therapy Section," Howells explained. "We have also made plans for our therapists to attend a two-day training seminar plus training by HydroWorx® with our specific pool.

"We hope that Mercy's aquatic therapy program is well received in this community and that people will come and receive the great care that we provide," Howells said.

As with most of Mercy's Rehabilitation Services, patients will need to consult with their primary physician before coming to the Aquatic Therapy Center for care. Ask your doctor today if you could benefit from Mercy's aquatic therapy!

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