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For more information, go to www.arthritisresearchuk.org

What is hydrotherapy?

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Hydrotherapy is the use of water in the treatment of different conditions, including arthritis and related rheumatic complaints. Hydrotherapy differs from swimming because it involves special exercises that you do in a warm-water pool. The water temperature is usually 33–36ºC, which is warmer than a typical swimming pool.

You’ll normally have hydrotherapy treatment within a hospital’s physiotherapy department. Usually a physiotherapist or a physiotherapist’s assistant with specialist training will show you how to do the exercises. The focus of the exercises can be adjusted to help your range of movement or strength, depending on your symptoms.

Hydrotherapy tends to be different to aquarobics, which can be quite strenuous, as it’s generally more focused on slow, controlled movements and relaxation.

Is hydrotherapy similar to spa therapy?

Spa therapy is based on the theory that the mineral content of spa water has special health-giving properties. In many European countries, hydrotherapy often takes place in spa water. Although there’s some research that suggests the mineral content of the water may make a difference, other studies show that hydrotherapy has significant benefits regardless of the water used.

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