Aquatic Therapy Following Breast Cancer

person doing aquatic therapy in water

Did you know that patients who have breast cancer surgery / radiation, have a high risk for developing breast cancer related lymphedema?

Did you realize that therapy in the warm water can significantly reduce lymphedema and even prevent the development of lymphedema? Research has shown that lymphedema may develop months and even years after initial Breast Cancer treatment. Research also demonstrates the powerful impact aquatic therapy can have- with a 33% reduction in lymphedema permanently when performing a gentle aquatic exercise protocol. A new body of knowledge demonstrates great success with individuals who combine a one-hour aquatic session with Manual Lymph Drainage.

Just by being in the water, clients can use the aquatic properties of hydrostatic pressure and buoyancy to promote self-lymphatic drainage massage. Deep breathing and exercise while in the water can also help to reduce the effects of Breast Cancer treatment and prevent Lymphedema.

Why Aquatic Exercise?

  • Warm water provides resistive for assisting venous return.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure improves venous return and decreases edema.
  • Warm water provides massaging effects to the lymphatic system.

Specific goals of Breast Cancer/Lymphedema Aquatic Therapy:

  • Restore proper body mechanics to optimize ROM.
  • Muscle contractions helps with venous return and improves lymphatic flow.
  • Increase lean body mass thereby reducing the risk of lymphedema/breast cancer reoccurrence.
  • Deep abdominal breathing in the water enhances pumping through the thoracic duct.
  • Exercises in the water help to improve ROM, posture, and endurance.

Aquacare Physical Therapy is pleased to announce the offering of a new program- “Aquatic Therapy Treatment for Lymphedema/Breast Cancer”. This program was developed at the request of several patients to assist individuals who are recovering from post-surgical breast cancer or post radiation/chemotherapy complications.

This aquatic program is performed in conjunction with Lymphedema Decongestive Therapy performed by our certified lymphedema therapist, Dr. Cassie Wooters DPT. Various conditions treated include cancer related lymphedema, chronic venous insufficiency, trauma related lymphedema, and primary lymphedema affecting the extremities and/or genitalia. The process of Lymphedema Decongestive Therapy includes: proper skin care, exercises to improve the efficiency of fluid return to the heart, manual lymph drainage, and compression and now the addition of AQUATIC THERAPY!

If you are interested in additional information about our lymphedema combined land and aquatic program, please do not hesitate to contact us at our Easton office at 410-770-9720. We also are happy to provide a free consultation with our lymphedema therapist to determine if this treatment may be beneficial.

“Water supports us, assists movement and causes resistance for strengthening. It’s like a mini-massage- why water is so beneficial for patients with lymphedema
——————————- A lymphedema patient from our Easton Clinic.

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