Whether it be for aging arthritic joints, following an orthopedic surgery, or just to drop a few pounds or condition for sports like agility, exercising in water has many benefits over walking on dry land. We are excited to offer hydrotherapy using the underwater treadmill as another tool in our physical rehabilitation arsenal.
The idea is simple — the patient is allowed to walk on a treadmill (similar to those you see at the gym) in a chamber filled with water. The speed of the treadmill can be adjusted from a very slow walk to speeds approaching 9 miles per hour. In addition, by adjusting water height, treadmill incline, and resistance jets, a session can be tailored to a pet’s size, athletic ability, and specific needs.
The physical properties of water make it an ideal choice for physical rehabilitation and exercise.
- Water provides buoyancy. Our pets are often reluctant to take longer walks or exercise freely because the force of movement on their joints is painful. Water decreases these forces – making movement more comfortable. A pet not in pain is able to walk longer, speeding recovery of damaged joints.
- Water provides resistance. Movement through water takes more effort compared to movement on dry land – making each step a strengthening exercise. Additional resistance can be achieved by inclining the treadmill and using therapeutic water jets.
- Water provides Called hydrostatic pressure, the force water exerts on a submerged limb can decrease swelling and pain. Stimulation to the skin can decrease hypersensitivity, improving overall comfort.
- Water is soothing. The treadmill water is maintained at a comfortable 85 to 88 degrees (much warmer than the waters of Puget Sound or area lakes). Warmer water promotes muscle relaxation, decreases inflammation, and provides a hospitable environment for exercise.