When you hear hydrotherapy, you might immediately think about a modern-day spa. Hydrotherapy is actually an ancient practice known for its positive effects on the skin and the muscles but it was also used to assess the advantages it had on spiritual and mental health as well as physical health. As we age, our bodies need a lot more from us and we have to be more intentional about how we treat it. For seniors, there has to be a lot of thought into physical and mental care because as we age, these are things that simply start to deteriorate.
Being proactive about your health and wellness is the best way to combat this and the best way to limit the number of pharmaceuticals you may have to take as you get older which is one of the many highlights of hydrotherapy. Exploring innovative and effective therapies is essential for those who want to approach the things that ‘hurt’ or that are bothersome from a natural standpoint.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about hydrotherapy as a senior.
How Is Hydrotherapy Helping Seniors?
While a lot of people often want to know how hydrotherapy works for seniors, you still might be wondering what hydrotherapy actually is. Today it’s explained as a variety of different exercises used in bodies of water as a treatment for those with arthritis, partial paralysis, and other conditions.
You might have heard this type of therapy referred to as hydropathy before. It’s better known as ‘water cure’ and probably the best way to describe it as well.
This holistic approach revolves around the idea that water, in its different forms and temperatures, can have profound effects on the body and mind. From ancient Roman baths to modern-day hot tubs, hydrotherapy has evolved into a versatile practice with applications spanning relaxation, pain management, and overall rejuvenation. It’s even known as a great option to help stroke survivors. Basically, it’s something that seniors need to get in on if they haven’t already.
Does Insurance Cover It?
The best answer to this is that ‘it depends’. In some cases, insurance might cover expenses related to hydrotherapy. While coverage varies depending on insurance providers and policy terms, it’s worth exploring this avenue. Basically, if your physician is ‘prescribing’ the means of hydrotherapy to you as a treatment, this is what insurance companies want and need to see.
Certain insurance plans recognize hydrotherapy as a valid form of therapeutic treatment and may include it in their coverage options outright. Consulting with your insurance provider and your doctor is essential to determine eligibility and coverage details.
So, if you want to start hydrotherapy to try and get high-ticket therapy equipment covered by your insurance, you should go into it already knowing the answer based on your individual coverage.
The Way This Form of Therapy Works Wonders for Seniors
At its core, hydrotherapy operates on the principles of buoyancy, temperature, and hydrostatic pressure. The unique properties of water allow for a range of therapeutic techniques that cater to different health needs.
Accessing Hydrotherapy Options
Hydrotherapy comes in many forms, each with its unique benefits. One of the most popular is the use of hot tubs and spas. These things allow you to immerse yourself in warm water to relax muscles, improve circulation, and relieve stress. The combination of warm water and jet streams in hot tubs can offer targeted massage benefits for seniors.
Hydrotherapy is often very accessible to seniors regardless of their physical condition or location. Many community centers, fitness clubs, and specialized hydrotherapy facilities offer tailored programs for seniors. These programs often include guided exercises and relaxation techniques that take advantage of water’s unique properties.
Additionally, pay attention to a few other options you’d have that can help produce similar effects:
Steam Rooms and Saunas; These heat-based therapies use steam or dry heat to induce sweating, promoting detoxification and relaxation. Saunas are known for improving cardiovascular health and easing muscle tension which can be beneficial for seniors.
Aquatic Exercises; Water-based workouts, like water aerobics and swimming, provide an effective way to engage in low-impact cardiovascular activities while benefiting from the water’s resistance. This is beneficial for seniors who want to consistently exercise with lower impact and moves that might be more doable.
Cold Water Immersion; This might not be for everyone but it does work if you want to target muscle problems, boost your immune system, and improve your mood. Cold water baths or contrast baths (alternating between hot and cold water) can aid in reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and promoting a sense of invigoration. This type of therapy is known to have a shock factor to it so this may not always be appropriate for seniors. However, if you want to look into this, it’s advised that you talk with your primary care physician to ensure that it’s a safe idea for you based on your health history and current health.
Hydrotherapy Exercises for Seniors
As a Florida senior, if you have a pool, a hot tub, or you have access to either of these things, take advantage of them. Seniors can take advantage of hydrotherapy exercises to enhance their physical fitness and overall health if they just know what to do. The first part of the battle might be finding some guidance so that doing it on your own won’t seem so bad.
Water walking in waist-high water, for example, is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that improves circulation and strengthens leg muscles. This is also great for seniors who might have arthritis or issues with mobility. However, if you do struggle with your range of motion or mobility in general, you should always have someone nearby to help you if you need it.
Leg lifts are another beneficial exercise that you can try in a body of water as a senior. Holding onto the pool’s edge and lifting each leg alternately helps build core strength and balance. You can also do slight leg kicks or flutters if you’re just sitting in your beach chair at the beach as long as you’re in waist-deep water while sitting. However, it’s always recommended to have someone with you if you plan to do this.
Water aerobics is another option and these classes are often offered at senior centers and nearby gyms. This type of class combines aerobic movements with the resistance of water, offering a fun and effective full-body workout. You also can’t overlook the power of a classic swim. This is an excellent way for seniors to engage their entire body while minimizing joint stress.
Did You Know That Insurance Can Cover a Hot Tub for Seniors in Some Cases?
Yes, this is true. As we mentioned, insurance will often cover hydrotherapy-related equipment if your physician actually prescribes spa hydrotherapy to you as a treatment. Some insurance companies will be a stickler about the details as well so, this means the prescription more than likely will need to target a specific condition and not just be for general wellness or stress relief.
Anytime you file a claim to help offset or fully cover some type of hydrotherapy equipment, try to include as much information as possible. You want to show the condition you have, the recommendation by the physician, and anything else pertinent that you can think of.
This should include all relevant medical documentation which can be anything from x-rays to the results of an MRI. Overall, the insurance company will just want to make sure the claim is valid.
Making What Works, Work
Hydrotherapy offers seniors adaptability in the way they approach their wellness. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, pain relief, or a rejuvenating experience, hydrotherapy’s multiple forms offer something for everyone regardless of age.
However, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before starting with certain types of hydrotherapy just ensure that you are approaching it in a way that’s safe for your current needs. The best part about it is, there aren’t many disadvantages to it and it’s relatively safe for seniors.
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