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Aquatic Therapy Essay

1064 words - 5 pages

Millions of people die a year from chronic heart failure. Chronic heart failure is when the heart does not pump blood throughout the body at the rate that it is supposed to. Instead the blood is circulated at a much slower power. Without the blood being distributed at the right level the body cannot meet all of its needs to function sufficiently. This is where the benefits of aquatic therapy come in. Aquatic therapy is a subcategory of physical therapy, where the exercise and rehabilitation takes place in the water. It can be used for many things, from obese people with knee pain to those that suffer from lower back pain. This type of therapy is important because it can alleviate some of the symptoms of chronic heart failure without having to rely on medication.
Aquatic Therapy Background Information
Aquatic therapy is beneficial because being in water allows more flexibility and buoyancy, as well as applies pressure to the body. According to Katharina Meyer, “with water immersion, gravity is partly eliminated, and the water exerts a pressure on the body surface” (90). The warm water can cause a change in the blood volume. This, along with the pressure of the water, can cause more blood to be moved to the heart. (Meyer 90) The warm water also causes widening of the blood vessels. The widening of blood vessels a larger amount of blood to be pumped throughout the body at a greater velocity. Since people diagnosed with chronic heart failure pump blood at a much slower rate, this water immersion technique greatly reduces this symptom.
Water Immersion Experimentation
The process varied from experiment to experiment, however, a few things were kept constant; there was an average of ten to twenty patients and all participants were above the age of sixty. Each of these patients were diagnosed with chronic heart failure. In Jean-Paul Schmid’s experiment, the pool was kept at 32 degrees Celsius (73). The patients were immersed up to their chest and performed exercises standing in the water. According to Schmid, “water immersion was measured using a non-invasive forcing gas breathing method” (73). This gas breathing method allowed many aspects to be tested, including blood pressure and heart rate (Schmid 73).
Results and Data
Many symptoms of chronic heart failure include; high blood pressure, stroke volume, and increased heart rate, which can increase the size of the hearts chambers. According to Bente Gruner Svealv’s experimentation, all of these areas were affected. The average heart rate and blood pressure both decreased. The heart rate dropped by an average of seven bets per minutes in the patients. Blood pressure dropped by an average of six beats per minute. This makes it so that the heart is not working too hard to pump blood and reduces the enlargement of the heart. Too much enlargement of the heart can lead to death. Stroke volume is defined as the volume of blood that is released per each heartbeat. Results show that there was improvement in...

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