Hydrotherapy (Aquatic Therapy)


Hydrotherapy is available at the Chris Moody Centre, Moulton, Northampton.

What is Hydrotherapy / Aquatic Physiotherapy

Hydrotherapy, or Aquatic Physiotherapy, is physiotherapy practiced in warm water utilising the unique properties of the waterspecifically for an individual to maximise function, which can be physical, physiological or psychological.

The water on the hydrotherapy pool is approximately 34-35.5 degrees, allowing your muscles to relax and easing the pain in your joints.

The buoyancy of the water unloads the weight of the body, reducing stress on joints and allowing freedom of movement.

Aquatic Therapy for Neurological Conditions

There is a huge sense of achievement and independence gained from aquatic physiotherapy and water immersion. There are significant benefits reported from our clients, as often neurological clients are able to perform activities in the pool that they are unable to perform on dry land.

In comparison with land-based physiotherapy, exercising in the water eliminates anxiety and fear of falling by providing postural support. This often enables improved relaxation and flexibility of the limbs.

As patients gain confidence, and for later stages of rehabilitation, the properties of drag and turbulence can be used to challenge stability further.

Benefits include:

-Relief of pain

-Relief of muscle spasm

-Strengthening weak muscles

-Improve circulation

-Improve posture and balance

-Normalise muscle tone

-Develop confidence


-work on functional tasks sooner than on land

-Physiological effects include- improve cardiovascular fitness, improve respiratory function, reduce oedema, improve circulation, improve renal function.

When is Hydrotherapy not Appropriate

During your initial assessment with the Physiotherapist, you will complete a screening questionnaire. There are certain conditions that mean you may not able to have hydrotherapy.

These Include:

Open infected wounds

Vomiting/stomach upset/loose stools

High/low blood pressure

Shortness of breath at rest

Heart problems


End stage renal failure


What to Expect


If you are new to PhysioFunction, a land-based assessment is required to discuss your individual needs so that we can plan your session in the pool. You will also complete a screening form. This will also be the opportunity to address any specific precautions that need to be considered before commencing hydrotherapy, following your medical screening form.

Continued Treatment

After your initial assessment, further appointments will last for 30-45 minutes. This will include getting in and out of the pool. The treatment will done on a 1-2-1 basis with your therapist where your treatment can be monitored and progressed where necessary.


What will I need?

You will need to bring a swimming costume, a towel and shower gel. You may want to bring a dressing gown or additional towel, for warmth before and after your session. You may also want to bring some flip flops or indoor footwear to use if walking from the changing room to the pool areas.

If you require the use of the hoist in the changing rooms, it is advised that you bring your own sling. Please discuss with your therapist.

What happens when I get there?

Aim to arrive with time to change before your allocated treatment time.

Inform the reception staff of your arrival, they will be able to direct you to the changing and disabled changing facilities.

Ensure you use the toilet facilities prior to entering the pool. These are located in the changing rooms.

Once you have changed, your therapist will meet you outside of the pool area.

To minimise pool contamination all individuals entering the pool area need to wear shoe covers (available outside the pool room) or remove their outdoor footwear.

Prior to entering the pool, all individuals must use the shower poolside.

**Please note:

  1. If a session is in progress when you arrive at the pool, please wait outside the pool room in the seated area and avoid interruption.
  1. Please be mindful that there are limited disabled changing rooms. If you require additional changing time (longer than 15 minutes), please speak with your therapist and we can look into using an alternative changing area. This will help to ensure that everyone is able to use the facilities and attend appointments on time.
  1. Your therapist will identify if there is any SPECIFIC equipment required for your session. This may include one of our shower/hydro chairs, transfer aids, hoist slings.
  1. Please ensure you either bring your belongings with you out of the changing room or use the free lockers available in the male/female changing rooms.

Do I need to be able to swim?

Do not worry if you cannot swim. A physiotherapist will be with you in the water at all times. If you inform the therapist if you’re are anxious of entering the pool, the therapist can introduce you to the shallower water first and then progress from there. Our aim is to allow you to enjoy the benefits of exercising in the water whilst feeling confident and in control.

How do I get in the pool?

The Hydrotherapy Pool- this is accessible via a platform lift which slowly lowers into the water. You can either stand on the lift or remain seated in one of our hydrotherapy chairs. Alternatively, there is a ladder in both the hydrotherapy and water therapy pools. Where appropriate, your therapist may discuss options for you learning the skill of entering and exiting the pool via the pool side.

What are the side-effects?

The effects of the warm water, combined with exercise, often cause individuals to feel tired after the session. It is advised that you have a light snack and drink available once you are changed. You may also feel that you need to empty your bladder so always use the facilities before entering the pool and notify your therapist should you need to get out during the session.

The pain relieving effects of immersion can often make it tempting to overexert yourself. Follow the guidance of your therapist during your treatment and notify them of any discomfort or change in symptoms during the treatment so it can be adapted accordingly.

How hot is the water?

The water temperature in the Hydrotherapy Pool and the Water Therapy Pool is kept between 34 and 35.5 Degrees Celsius.

I have problems with incontinence, can I still go in the pool?

Bladder Incontinence

Catheter and convene- All catheter bags should be emptied prior to getting in the pool, and the valve left open so that urine can pass freely to the bag during the session. The tubes should be secured within the swimwear or with elastic dressing to minimise loose tubing in the pool. If no catheter, then refer to incontinence swimwear links below.

Bowel incontinence

We will endeavour to facilitate access to hydrotherapy, however a contraindication to this is unmanaged bowel incontinence.

An absolute contraindication to hydrotherapy is diarrhoea.

Managed bowel incontinence- the client would have a regular bowel routine that the hydrotherapy program can be times to fit around. It is advised that the client wears incontinence swimwear in addition. Please see links below.

We would advise a disposable swimming pants with incontinence swimwear/shorts over the top.



If the water is contaminated by any leakage during the session, despite precautions being taken, the client is liable for a pool contamination fee which is £100.

I Have an Open Wound, Can I Still go in the Pool?

An absolute contraindication to hydrotherapy is open infected wounds.

Open wounds (cuts, lacerations, scratches, sores) should be dressed and precautions taken with handling and equipment during the session. This should always be discussed with your therapist prior to the session

There are dressings available for purchase from the PhysioFunction office at a cost of £7, Tegaderm foam adhesive.

A client may continue with land-based Physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy in conjunction with one another, alternatively they may use Hydrotherapy to assist with specific movement patterns, reduce spasticity and ease pain prior to progressing to land-based therapy. The ability to swim is not necessary for Hydrotherapy. Your head does not need to go under water. You can even remain seated on a chair in the water.

I took my mum (spinal cord injury at C4 incomplete - tetraplegic) to use the hydro pool with physio Michelle. What an absolutely amazing session, Michelle's knowledge of SCI was refreshing and both mum and I felt totally at ease with her. Mum had her injury last year, and to be able to get her in a pool and stimulate walking for the first time what an absolute miracle! Thank you so much x
Lucy Frost, Daughter of PhysioFunction Client

"It was excellent that our Rotary District Governor was able to go along to Northampton and see the Hydrotherapy Programme first hand, and she spoke to me about this in glowing terms at the recent District Foundation Lunch we both attended. I shall be at our Rotary District Assembly this Saturday and will join the Foundation stream (which is where I originally hatched the plot a couple of years ago for our matching grant).I shall again be seizing on opportunities to promote a wider possible vision of Rotary and PoPSyCLE working together to address the needs of Polio Survivors, potentially UK and even worldwide when the timing is right."

Thanks Kirsten Good for all your help and assistance which we all appreciate, particularly when we receive both the recognition for the work you are carrying out and hopefully additional funding to support the programme into the future. Kind regards and thanks Mike Jackson - Post Polio Group

To find out more about our Hydrotherapy (Aquatic Therapy) service, please click contact PhysioFunction or call 0800 043 0327