Aquatic Physical Therapy is the evidence-based and skilled practice of physical therapy in an aquatic environment by a licensed physical therapist. Aquatic Physical Therapy includes treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, health, wellness and fitness of client populations in an aquatic environment with or without the use of assistive, adaptive, or supportive devices and equipment.

Why Aquatic



Aquatic Physical Therapy can benefit children who have a diagnosis of:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Hemiplegia
  • Genetic Disorders
  • Hypotonia
  • Ataxia
  • Down Syndrome
  • Spina Bifida
  • Developmental Delays
  • Prematurity
  • Neuromuscular Diseases
  • Motor Incoordination
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • ​and more

Aquatic Physical Therapy can improve: range of motion, motor planning, body awareness, strength, balance, coordination, and more – ultimately resulting in improved functional outcomes. 

Aquatic Physical Therapy vs Swimming Lessons

Physical Therapy in an aquatic-setting is a medically necessary service, provided to an individual who presents with delayed motor skills and/or impaired functional mobility. The licensed therapist is providing physical therapy, to improve functional outcomes, and to meet established therapy goals set by the therapist and client’s family at the Initial Evaluation. It is not teaching the client how to swim, although some components of swimming (stroking and kicking) may be incorporated in the therapy treatment.

The buoyancy, support, accommodating resistance and other unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for clients across the age span with musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular, pulmonary, and integumentary conditions.