Aquatic Therapy vs Land-Based Therapy

land based therapy tools for rehabilitation exercises at Fish and Field Biokineticists biokinetic services in Sandton

While we at Fish and Filed Biokinetics have a passion for being in the water and applying aqua therapy techniques, land-based rehabilitation is just as important and should not be overlooked. Even though the water provides endless benefits, we as humans were not designed to be in the water forever. In this article we will look at both treatment methods, highlighting the importance of both.

Aquatic Based Therapy as a treatment method

Aqua therapy provides an environment to perform exercises safely, allowing individuals to exercise more effectively, with less pain and less risk of falling or overloading one’s joints. The buoyancy and increased hydrostatic pressure provided from the warm water makes it an appealing treatment method for many, allowing improvement in pain, disability and quality of life. Aqua therapy has been proven to provide beneficial results for all individuals, whether you be battling with a chronic condition such as Multiple Sclerosis or Ankylosing Spondylitis or an orthopaedic condition such as a hip replacement or frozen shoulder for example. It is a highly recommended treatment option for all, whether young or old.

Woman in water aqua therapy with Fish and Field Biokineticists offer pre and post-operative rehabilitation through hydrotherapy in Bryanston, Johannesburg

Then why consider Land-Based Treatment?

While Aqua therapy provides multiple benefits, we do not live in water. Thus, it is important, when possible, that once you’re feeling more comfortable, confident and pain free, too consider progressing to more difficult and challenging land-based exercises which can translate to activities of daily living. A transition approach from aqua-therapy to land-based treatment will allow for maximum progression and improvement. Land-based treatment allows for increased loading of your limbs and joints, bringing about further strengthening and conditioning to your muscles. Baring your full body weight and working against gravity will advance the exercises you were performing in the pool, providing you with a new challenge. Not having the water to support your weight and balance means that your muscles need to work harder to stabilize and maintain your balance.

Methods for Land-Based Therapy

Land-based therapy can be just as creative and interesting as aqua sessions, incorporating equipment such as treadmills, balance boards, swiss balls, therabands and weights. Unlike in the water, where your body is constantly required to activate multiple muscle groups to maintain balance, on land it is easier to isolate and target specific muscle groups more accurately. This ensures correct activation and strengthening of certain muscles, maintaining balanced through your muscle groups and preventing compensation in other areas.

Fish & Field biokineticists premises at San Sereno offers aqua therapy in heated pool.

What if I do not like the water?

Studies have shown that both land-based rehabilitation and aquatic-based rehabilitation offer an increase in function, range of motion and muscle strength and a decrease in pain. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to keep active and moving. We want to provide you with the best treatment we can, whether it be on land or in the water.

It is with this that we are excited to inform you that our new consultation rooms, studio and gym are nearly finished at San Sereno, giving us the opportunity to provide you with the best aquatic and land-based rehabilitation possible!  

CONTACT US at Fish & Field Biokineticists to book a consultation.


Timmer, A. (2019). An Aquatic to Land-based Therapy Transition Approach for Persons with Lower Extremity OA: A Case Report.

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