Aquatic Physical Therapy

man receiving aquatic physical therapy at lifespan

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For more information, or to request referral forms, please call one of our locations.

Patients may benefit from participating in physical therapy in a pool. Water provides buoyancy, which aids patients who have weight-bearing sensitivity or who are unable to tolerate a traditional exercise program.

At our program in Providence, licensed therapists provide individualized, professional and experienced care in a heated SwimEx pool, which generates water resistance to maximize the benefits of physical therapy.

At our Newport location, patients can work with experienced therapists in a heated, salt-water aquatic therapy pool through a partnership with St. Clare-Newport, a long-term care facility conveniently located close to the hospital campus.

Some of the diagnoses that benefit from aquatic physical therapy are:

  • arthritis
  • back pain/spine surgery
  • fibromyalgia
  • pre- and post-operative total joint replacement
  • trauma/fractures (without open wounds)
  • neurological conditions

The goal of aquatic PT is to allow patients to actively participate in an exercise program to improve function, then transition to a more traditional therapeutic program.

Aquatic Physical Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

Expand a section below to learn more about aquatic physical therapy. 

Do I need to know how to swim?

You do not need to know how to swim but should be comfortable in a pool that ranges in depths up to 5 feet.

Is aquatic therapy billed as physical therapy?

Yes. Aquatic therapy is really aquatic physical therapy. It is a skilled service with direct care from a licensed therapist, so your insurer will be billed for physical therapy services.

How do I get into aquatic PT?

You need an MD referral to be scheduled for a PT evaluation.  After that, you will be oriented to the pool area and scheduled for follow-up visits in aquatic PT.

Learn more about outpatient rehabilitation services at Lifespan »