The application of aquatic therapy for health and rehabilitation purposes has been promoted for centuries.Although used predominantly in clinical settings for the treatment, rehabilitation and management of chronic conditions, the practice is also gaining popularity in athletic settings in such areas as recovery training and for the rehabilitation of acute musculoskeletal injuries. To date, most studies on the impact of aquatic-based rehabilitation on the human body have focused on physiological aspects. There is a relative paucity of published research on the biomechanical implications associated with aquatic-based activity. The published findings have been limited to the influence of the aquatic environment on running and walking gait.A clear challenge in this field is absence of standardised protocols for assessing the impact of aquatic therapy and its possible role in rehabilitation. For example, methodologies often differ considerably between studies, and there are no standardised reporting procedures for important variables such as water depth and temperature. The research knowledge in this area has been questioned, with current medical guidelines highlighting that high quality research into the roles of aquatic therapy in rehabilitation is warranted. This review will summarise the current literature on water-based activity and how this can impact human movement and subsequent rehabilitation.
Journal of Fitness Research / Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.48-62