Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy

3rd Edition

Reviews of the Book

The Third Edition of Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy provides the reader with an opportunity to expand their expertise in a very successful mode of rehabilitation: Aquatic Therapy.  This text provides an excellent discussion of the major disciplines of aquatic therapy to include: Halliwick, Bad Ragaz and Watsu and rationale for implementation into a rehabilitation plan of treatment.  

During my career as a physical therapist, two area of focus in my practice included expertise in the use of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation and orthopedic manual therapy.  The concepts presented in the Bad Ragaz discussion expands a practitioner’s ability to utilize not only the PNF patterns but provides the medium in which PNF can be achieved in a method in which a greater range of motion and stimulation can be increased while the stress to the therapists can be reduced.  A great model for the use of neuromuscular facilitation.  As an orthopedic therapist, the utilization of an aquatic environment is unsurpassed in providing the patient an opportunity to exercise for strength, balance, and flexibility without the impact of gravity and subsequent restrictions of pain.  

Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy is a must read for any rehabilitation practitioner focused on providing their patients with a systematic approach to regain optimum levels of independence.  With continued changes in the provision of health care services, health care is moving rapidly to focus on wellness.  The utilization of aquatic activity must be part of any health care provider’s arsenal of referral services.   If we are to reach a society in which wellness is considered the norm, we must provide an avenue in which all individuals feel comfortable when exercising.  The aquatic environment is an excellent medium for a large portion of individuals searching for a mode of activity in which they can enjoy and continue to use.  

An excellent text, a great explanation of all aspects of aquatic rehabilitation from the biophysiologic aspects of hydrotherapy to staff training, facility design, and marketing.  

Gary J. Smith, PhD, FACHE

Retired Physical Therapist and COO of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute

Senior Project Associate, Area Health Education Center of Eastern Washington

Clinical Assoc. Prof., Washington State University, Health Policy and Administration Department

The secret of this weighty textbook is in its title; it is truly comprehensive. This tome represents the 3rd edition and incorporates elements which will be helpful to undergrad and postgraduate student alike. Each chapter is preceded by learning outcomes and concludes with a relevant case study and multiple choice questions which enable the reader to assess their learning. The chapters follow a logical pathway from historical perspectives, biophysiology, aquatic therapy techniques, the use of aquatic therapy for specific client populations and practice management issues.  The use of contemporary references throughout ensures that this text provides a sound evidence-based approach. The opening chapter provides a useful definition of modern aquatic rehabilitation and traces its rise and ebb from the healing water rituals of early civilizations to its modern-day renaissance.   The second chapter on the biophysiology of aquatics is undoubtedly the key chapter in the book and it does not disappoint. Logical explanations which relate basic physiological concepts to the aquatic environment and the implications to practice will be welcomed by novice and expert reader alike.  The next 5 chapters detail the development and practice of the differing techniques of aquatic therapy and include valuable new chapters on aqua running and Ai Chi which were not present in the previous edition.  Chapters 8-13 focus on specific client groups, though the omission of chapters on obstetric, rheumatic and chronic pain populations is regrettable.  Similarly the prominence of the recent literature in aquatic rehabilitation and cardiac recovery could have been highlighted within a bespoke chapter. Nevertheless frequent reference is made to the benefits and precautions required for this group in many chapters and especially within the chapter on group programming.  Chapter 15 considers the transition from acute care to community resource and provides important insights for managing and encouraging this change.  The final 6 chapters detail various issues relating to practice management and may be of more relevance to the American market. Nevertheless the chapters on facility design and equipment will be of more generic interest.

In their preface the editors make reference to the long gestation period of this edition.  All I can say it was worth waiting for!  

Dr Jane Hall, PhD, MCSP

Senior Clinical Research Physiotherapist

Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases

Upper Borough Walls

Bath, UK