21 Apr 2015

The World of Whirlpool Therapy

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Ah, a whirlpool. The body-size round bath that jets out fast-paced, hot, forceful, massaging jolts of water from several different points on its inner walls. Whirlpools provide luxury muscle relief and relaxation ecstacy, in spas worldwide, some gyms, and lucky homes as well. When you hear the term “whirlpool therapy,” it might sound redundant, because by all standards, a whirlpool bath is therapy – a healing and rejuvenating treatment.

Because whirlpools can renew our bodies, they are also used in physical therapy. The hot water expands blood vessels, facilitating easier joint and muscle movement. Contrastingly, cold water whirlpools constrict the blood vessels, decreasing blood flow, thereby discouraging inflammation. Some treatments even include both a hot and cold “contrast” treatment – by rapidly changing the vessels from opening to closing, the blood vessles are jostled into pumping, which can also decrease inflammation. And no matter the temperature, the whirlpool jets stimulate body movements, which is the overall goal of physical therapy.  

Therapy whirlpools differ from the luxury spa types not only in purpose, but more so in size. They are small, usually suitable only for one body part at a time – an ankle, a wrist, an arm, or a leg. In some cases, a full-body therapy whirlpool is also used. Therapy sessions are usually 15-20 minutes long, and are just one piece of an entire physical therapy regimen. The reason they are not the sole therapy used is because whirlpool waters encourage only passive movement, whereas the physical therapy patient needs to increasingly perform active movements with the injured body part in question. Some whirlpool therapy programs combine both the passive and active movements by having the patient perform exercises with the body part that is inside the whirlpool.

At Rockaway Care Center, our rehabilitation programs include whirlpool therapy. Both short term and long term residents can benefit from whirlpool therapy, be they seniors in need of physical therapy for routine ailments, or college students in their 20’s who are post-surgery after a major bicycle accident, or anything in between. Rockaway Care Center provides a comprehensive recovery and rehabilitiation program, and we are happy to include the benefits of whirlpool therapy. And if it feels like a bit of luxury, well, all the better.



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