Aquatic Physical Therapy

Aquatic Physical Therapy

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Helping the Heart Through Cardiac Rehab

A rehabilitation program often can help heart patients live better with their disease and recover from medical procedures like surgery and angioplasty.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, cardiac rehab services are comprehensive (thorough) and long-term. They include a medical evaluation; exercise under a doctor's supervision; modification of cardiac risk factors; and education, counseling, and behavior modification.

Only a small percentage of the millions of cardiovascular patients, however, get the supervised exercise, stress management, and lifestyle adjustments that can help them recover.

Talk with your doctor

If you are being treated for heart disease, talk with your doctor about how a cardiac rehab program could aid your recovery. Your health care provider can help you devise a program that's right for you, according to your specific needs and health coverage benefits.

Getting worked up over a traffic jam or flying off the handle at a coworker can put some patients at greater risk of a second heart attack. Talk therapy, biofeedback, and meditation can teach relaxation instead of allowing tempers and heart problems to erupt.

The major components of any cardiac rehabilitation program should include the following:

Smoking cessation

Whatever you need to quit smoking from wearing a nicotine patch to undergoing hypnosis do it to quit this habit, says the American Heart Association. You should also avoid exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke since it can also increase your risk of another heart attack. 

Blood pressure control

Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Blood pressure that is 120 to 139 for the top number (systolic reading) or 80 to 89 (diastolic) for the bottom number on two or more occasions is considered prehypertension, meaning there is a risk for developing hypertension. High blood pressure is when your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher (for either number) on 3 or more different occasions. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. In most cases, more than one medication may be needed to keep blood pressure under control. Make sure you and your doctor keep track of what you need to do to stay within healthy blood pressure levels.

Cholesterol checks

Consult with your doctor regarding your target total cholesterol and your target low-density lipoprotein, or LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Diet, exercise, and medication can help control cholesterol levels.


You should engage in moderate- to high-intensity exercise 3 to 4 days a week, for an average of 40 minutes at a time. Follow your health care provider's advice on the intensity of your workout.


You should follow a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and mackerel.

Aquatic Physical Therapy is a specialized physical therapy practice using the buoyancy and support of water to enhance exercise and create a safe environment for a patient to work towards recovery and independence.

Aquatic physical therapy is available at Valley Health locations in Berkeley Springs, Romney and Winchester. The pools are accessible to all individuals with disabilities or injuries by using a lift chair or adaptive stairs. It is not necessary to know how to swim to participate in aquatic physical therapy.

Common conditions treated:
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back pain
  • Sacroiliac dysfunction
  • Rotator cuff
  • Paraplegia/Tetraplegia
  • General debilitation
  • Chronic pain syndrome
  • Neurological disorders
  • Lower extremity surgical reconstructions & amputations
Services Provided

On your first visit an examination and evaluation will be performed on land to determine the aquatic services that would best serve your needs. At that time a physical therapist will determine a diagnosis and plan of care based on your impairments and functional limitations. After your examination, you will be oriented to the rehabilitation pool.

Treatment sessions are generally one-to-one and designed to improve circulation, increase strength, endurance, balance and coordination; decrease tissue swelling and protect joints. The exercise program will be customized to fit your needs. Therapy sessions generally last from 45 minutes to one hour.

How to Get Started

If you think aquatic physical therapy can assist you in reaching your goals, ask your physician for a referral. Then call the convenient location for you to schedule an appointment. Aquatic physical therapy is covered under Medicare, and many insurance companies will reimburse the cost of this service.
Outpatient Rehabilitation and Fitness Services
261 Berkmore Place, Suite 2A
Berkeley Springs, WV

Outpatient Rehabilitation and Fitness Services
12 East Luray Shopping Center
Luray, VA

Hampshire Wellness & Fitness Center
1000 Heritage Circle
Romney, WV

Outpatient Rehabilitation Services
333 West Cork Street, Second Floor
Winchester, VA