Aquatic Physical Therapy

Swedish Hospital operates one of the few hospital-based aquatic programs in Chicago. Patients exercise in a true therapy pool at Galter Life Center, Chicago's only certified medical fitness center, assisted and supervised by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. 

To schedule an appointment, call 773-878-6888.

What is Aquatic Physical Therapy?

Aquatic physical therapy makes use of the natural buoyancy and resistance of water to help facilitate the physical therapy treatment program. The pool is kept between 91 and 93 degrees which allow the muscles to relax and improves circulation to the joints.

For certain patients, an aquatic environment is a better choice than land for physical therapy. The total contact of the water can also help to decrease muscle spasticity in certain patients, making normal motion easier. Typically patients attend the aquatics program for approximately 4 weeks at which point they progress onto more traditional land based therapy or continue independently with the exercises

Goals of Aquatic Therapy

Goals of aquatic physical therapy program include:

  • Improved joint range of motion or flexibility
  • Increased strength
  • Improved cardiovascular condition and endurance
  • Increased postural or core stabilization

Who Can Benefit From Aquatic Therapy? 

Although aquatic therapy can benefit a large number of patients, it is not for everyone. Some conditions make it unsafe to participate in aquatic physical therapy, including open wounds, certain skin conditions, and bowel or bladder incontinence.

Additional Resources 


Contact Us

To schedule an appointment, call 773-878-6888.



Patient Stories

Read stories from patients who have found healing and compassion at Swedish Hospital.

Learn More