Hydrotherapy Exercise Class at Chelsea Pensioners
The pensioner hydrotherapy class at The Royal Hospital Chelsea is run on a weekly basis for 45 minutes on Thursday morning and most pensioners attend for 6 weeks. All are eligible for the class, however they have to be assessed and referred by either the GP or The Royal Hospital Physiotherapist.
Hydrotherapy exercise allows all patients/pensioners to move and rehabilitate with a reduced impact going through their joints, therefore this is most suitable post-operatively, if they have reduced balance or where land exercises may be painful.
The warmth of the water can improve flexibility, due to increased blood dilating into the tissues, which allows them to be stretched more comfortably, enabling greater range of motion in a multitude of joints.
Hydrostatic pressure – mild water pressure – helps reduce localised oedema following tissue injury. By supporting the body, the water pressure also helps joint stability and reduces risk of injury from falls.
Buoyancy reduces the majority of body weight on painful, injured or surgically repaired tissues, joints, and bones. This allows the patient to regain increased range of motion without the pain associated with full weight bearing. It also allows rehabilitation to start much sooner after injury or surgery, as in chest deep water body weight is effectively reduced by as much as 75%.
Resistance – varies by the force (velocity) of motion. Increased force against water produces more resistance, which increases muscle effort, thereby increasing muscle strength and tone. Initial rehabilitation involves light resistance, progressively increasing as muscles strengthen. Resistance can be gravity assisted or resisted, buoyancy assisted or resisted.
All pensioners are given a specific programme to work on depending on their injury/problem, which is progressed as their symptoms improve. After which time pensioners can return to land based gym exercises and hopefully return to full function.
As you can see from the photos it’s a fun way for them to exercise, improve confidence and motivate them to continue with land based exercises.