Aquatic Physical Therapy


UW Health Research Park

(608) 265-3207

(800) 323-8942


UW Health at The American Center

(608) 440-6440

Physical therapists in UW Health's orthopedics and rehabilitation program in Madison, Wisconsin, offer aquatic physical therapy for patients with various conditions, including spine, neck, arm and lower extremity problems.


What is aquatic physical therapy?


Aquatic physical therapy services are offered at the Research Park and UW Health at The American Center Aquatic Centers in our warm water pools. The water relieves pressure on the spine and lower extremities, which is useful for people with weakness or arthritis in their spine or legs, and provides assistance for the arms for people having difficulty lifting their arms due to shoulder or neck problems.


At the same time the water provides resistance to strengthen weakened or painful muscles. The water's hydrostatic pressure assists venous return (the return of  blood to the heart), which helps with lower-extremity circulation and leg swelling.


Who is aquatic physical therapy for?


Many people find they can exercise comfortably in the water when similar exercise was painful on land.


People who make good candidates for aquatic physical therapy are those in need of physical therapy services but are unable to achieve their goals on land. Participants should enjoy being in the water and be ready to actively participate in their rehabilitation program.




Patients beginning aquatic physical therapy will be evaluated on land prior to the first aquatic session. Check with your physical therapist first to see if you would be a good candidate for aquatic physical therapy.