August 20, 2019
How Aquatic Therapy Helps Veterans Cope with PTSD
Among the most common problems our troops often face after returning home from combat duty overseas is the development of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Fortunately, with the psychological disorder gaining widespread attention from mental health professionals and researchers, numerous treatment options are now available. Gone are the days when patients would solely rely on talk therapy and medications.
A modern treatment method for PTSD that’s starting to grow in popularity is aquatic therapy. While it may sound ideal only for individuals with physical problems and injuries, the therapy can actually provide a number of benefits for those struggling with a mental disorder. What’s also great about it is that it’s suitable for people of all ages.
What Is Aquatic Therapy?
Also known as water therapy, pool therapy, hydrotherapy, or therapeutic aquatic exercise, aquatic therapy involves any therapeutic activity taking place in a pool or other aquatic environment. Programs are individualized depending on the needs of the patient. Some patients enter the therapy to improve their flexibility, some to build muscle strength, while others are referred by their counselors to treat their stress.
Patients are accompanied by highly trained professionals. Services are commonly offered in sports medicine clinics, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and senior living centers.
The Origins of Aquatic Therapy
People have been using water as a source of healing, relief, and relaxation centuries ago.
Ancient Romans and Greeks were believed to have bathed in hot springs to improve blood circulation, while Hippocrates suggested bathing in spring water to cure sickness.
Ruins of an ancient bath were unearthed in Pakistan dating back to 4500 BC. Ancient Romans took pride in their bathhouses. Their physicians wrote of treating patients with warm and cold baths to prevent disease. Documents exist showing the use of steam, baths, and aromatic massage to promote well-being since the first century.
Bathhouses became highly popular in Europe by the 17th and 18th century. In America, the first public bathhouses were built in the mid-1700s.
In the early 19th century, a priest in Bavaria, Germany named Sebastien Kneipp, began treating his parishioners with cold water applications after he was able to cure himself of tuberculosis using the same technique.
in nearby Austria at around the same time, a doctor named Vincenz Priessnitz also began treating his patients with baths, packs, and showers of cold spring water. The spa the he opened became a model for hydrotherapy.
In Japan, people have long been known to immerse themselves in hot springs for different reasons, such as treating skin problems, alleviating constipation, relieving chronic pain, and curing menstrual cramps.
What Are the Benefits of Aquatic Therapy?
What makes aquatic therapy different from many other treatments is that it can be beneficial physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here are several reasons that make water therapy an effective treatment option:
- Buoyancy lowers the effects of gravity on injured muscles and joints.
- The hydrostatic pressure of water increases circulation and decreases inflammation.
- Warm water offers a calming environment for aching joints and muscles.
- Wave propagation and turbulence allow therapists to manipulate their patients gently through their exercises.
- Water resistance trains the muscles to grow stronger as they adapt to that resistance.
- Water reduces stress and tension.
How Does Aquatic Therapy Help Veterans with PTSD?
Although hydrotherapy is more popular for vets with injuries and disabilities, many therapists are now offering it to those suffering from PTSD and other mental health disorders as treatment option.
Staying in the water can be therapeutic as it has been linked to an overall reduction in stress levels as well as a greater sense of well-being. Studies even show that the sound of splashing water can actually cause the brain to release dopamine, leading to a much calmer and happier disposition.
By sticking to their treatment program as required, patients find themselves getting better as each day passes by. With less stress and anxiety, they can finally get the proper amount of quality sleep, a clear and positive mindset, and the determination to move forward with their lives.
Vets who have undergone hydrotherapy are reported to experience a drop in panic attacks, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts—all symptoms of PTSD.
Help Our Former Troops Get Treatment
You can do your part and give our disadvantaged veterans an opportunity to seek medical aid and other forms of transitioning assistance by simply donating an old automobile. Any vehicle that you no longer use is capable of transforming the lives of our nation’s heroes once you hand it over to Veteran Car Donations. We will auction off your donated vehicle and use the proceeds to support the programs of our IRS-certified 501(c)3 nonprofit partners that provide needy veterans with mortgage-free and specially adapted homes, free mental health care, employment opportunities, job training, tutoring support, education scholarships, financial assistance, life skills training, counseling, and many other benefits.
We’ll even haul it away from your place without costing you a dollar, take care of your paperwork, and mail you a 100% tax-deductible sales receipt after everything’s over and done with!
For more information on our car donation program, check out our FAQs page. For inquiries, you can call us at 877-594-5822 or send us a message online.
You can donate to Veteran Car Donations by either calling us or filling out our secure online donation form. We accept donations of nearly all types of vehicles wherever you are in the United States since we have car donation programs in all 50 states.
Extend a Helping Hand to Our Heroes with Your Car Donation
What are you waiting for? Call us at 877-594-5822 and give back to our nation’s heroes with your car donation!