Pool Therapy Combined with Traditional Land Physical Therapy

CompletePT, Physical Therapists in West L.A. and Woodland Hills, CA

CompletePT combines the best of pool therapy and traditional land physical therapy in one convenient place. Our attentive staff is committed to providing patients with the highest quality care, treating them with kindness and respect from the first appointment until full recovery. Since both our pool and land therapy programs are delivered by the same physical therapists, there is unity of purpose and vision.

Heated Pool for Aquatic Exercise

In a luxurious setting, our patients begin their rehabilitation in the 92-degree heated indoor pool where they can perform movements possible only in the buoyancy of water.

Spacious, Inviting Gym Area

Next, patients are transitioned to our land therapy program where they do exercises that must occur against gravity in order to regain function in their activities of daily living.

From Pool to Land, Total Body Fitness

Complete PT's gym for physical therapy care.

After injury or surgery, patients are able to re-learn skills of daily life in a non-gravitational setting in the pool, then translate those skills back to land where gravity is reintroduced. By having our patients move back and forth from pool to land, they achieve incredible results in improved function and accelerated recovery. Our combined therapy focuses on correct movement patterns and total body fitness, which not only improves function but reduces the risk of re-injury.

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Definition of Pool Therapy

Pool/aquatic therapy is the safest form of rehabilitation, especially for weightbearing injuries, because it takes place in the buoyancy of water and thereby removes impact and trauma from weightbearing joints. In pool therapy, the water offers buoyant support for the body, resistance to bodily movement, a natural reduction in pain, and a relaxing and refreshing feel. Combined with traditional land physical therapy, it offers the quickest way to return to normal daily activities.

CompletePT's pool program offers a four-prong approach to solving rehabilitation challenges:

  1. We provide specific rehab exercises designed to help heal the injury.
  2. We include a safe, progressive total body fitness program that helps guide the entire body toward fitness while the injury heals.
  3. We offer guidance to correct faulty biomechanics that may have contributed to the injury.
  4. We focus on functions that must be performed by the patient in daily life.
Knee Aquatic Therapy

While wearing a flotation belt in deep water, patients strengthen their bodies while they move in a gravity-free environment. In shoulder-deep water, patients weigh only ten percent of their normal body weights, so every exercise is exceptionally low impact. By starting movement in water early in a rehabilitation program, the damage that occurs after an injury - stiffening, loss of circulation, loss of muscle size, and a growing involvement of other body parts surrounding the injury - can be prevented.

Lynda Huey, founder of CompletePT, spent more than two decades water training many of the world's finest athletes, and she brings her techniques and theories to our program. Thus, we apply the basic principle of sports medicine in all our care: help patients regain full function of the injured area while preserving or gaining as much fitness as possible as the injury heals.

Conditions Helped by Pool Therapy

Professional football players crosstrain with Lynda Huey
Professional football players crosstrain with Lynda Huey in Fremantle, Australia

Virtually all injuries and rheumatological conditions, including osteo arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankle and leg sprains and fractures, presurgical and postsurgical hips, knees, and backs, muscle strains, frozen shoulders, painful necks and backs, fibromyalgia, achilles and patellar tendonitis.

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Patient in pool, using aquatic exercises to improve mobility
Olympic volleyball
coach completes his postsurgical rehab in water

Planning or Recovering From Surgery

Pool therapy fits perfectly into the well-designed postsurgical therapy program, because water provides the safest place for protected, gradual and guided motion that does not overly stress the joint or site of repair. Patients can start pool therapy very early in the postoperative recovery phase, often before land-based therapy programs would be possible. Over the years, we've seen patients who use our pool program as "prehab," prior to surgery, return to full function much more quickly than those who have been inactive prior to surgery. By gaining strength and flexibility prior to surgery, they returned to the pool already knowing how to do the exercises and they quickly regained function and range of motion.

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Surgery Prevention

Our pool program has been effective in helping many patients prevent hip, knee, and back surgeries. By regaining their mobility, strength, flexibility and function and by reducing pain, patients can give themselves many years before inevitable surgeries are eventually required. Some never have surgeries; others delay them. If surgery is required, what had started as a prevention program transitioned automatically into a prehab program.

Begining a Physical Therapy Program

If you wish to bill your health insurance, verify with your carrier that your policy covers physical therapy. Then print out our prescription form and ask your M.D. to sign it.

Next, call our office at 310.845.9690 to schedule an evaluation with one of our physical therapists and then your first pool visit. If you'll be flying in from another area, please schedule at least two weeks in advance. If you aren't going to bill insurance, ask the receptionist for our current cash prices.

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Back Rehab

Back pain sufferers, whether they have had surgery, are planning a surgery, or want to prevent surgery, succeed in the pool. Patients experiencing acute episodes of back pain are not able to perform most land-based exercises but when they enter the gravity-neutral environment of water, their pain is reduced and they can begin gentle movements to improve their strength, flexibility, and endurance. Our back stabilization program starts patients in chest-deep water where they begin walking while learning to use abdominal muscles to create a "muscular corset," thereby protecting their backs. They move quickly to a more vigorous deep-water program, then finish with a full regimen of rebounding, shallow-water exercises to improve their ability to withstand impact without harming their backs. These more difficult exercsies prepare them for the land therapy to come.

PT working with patient in pool.
Physical Therapist working with patient in the pool.

To help our patients transition from pool to land safely, we ask the same therapists who treat them in the pool to supervise their land therapy. This continuity of care provides our patients their best possible chance for regaining full strength, mobility, and function without re-injury. Our attentive staff carefully guides patients toward improvements in all of their sports, fitness routines, and activities of daily living.

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Pre-op and Post-op Rehab

Patients in pool doing aquatic exercises.
Running and walking in deep water creates no impact to weightbearing joints.

Gain strength and flexibility prior to surgery, then return to the pool to regain full function and range of motion. Weightlessness in water allows for safe, early movement of surgical sites to speed healing.

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Balance Training

Patient learning balance exercises with a trained physical therapist.
Stuntman and double for Johnny Depp regains his exquisite balance after injury.

Patients with complaints of unsteadiness, and others who have fallen due to poor balance, begin in the pool, a safe place to start balance training. The water supports and protects our patients from falls as they work on balance exercises such as slow marching, step/curbs, and single-leg standing. As strength and confidence improve, patients move to the gym to complete the balance training/safety program in a more life-like environment.


Traditional Land Physical Therapy

Patient doing leg extension exercise to rebuild muscles and improve range of motion.
By teaching patients how to do the exercises properly themselves, they can maintain their programs on their own at home.

Our professional, friendly staff is knowledgeable in sport, orthopedic, and neurological rehabilitation and helps every patient through his or her recovery process. Components of our land therapy program include trunk stabilization, abdominal strengthening, upper/lower body strengthening, flexibility training, posture re-education, cardiovascular training, lifting techniques, and biomechanics. Land Therapy Supplies available for purchase.

When most of our patients come into the gym, they've already been in our pool program at least two weeks. Exercising in water early in their rehab programs lets them begin land physical therapy stronger, more flexible and with less pain than if they had begun an exclusively land-based therapy program at the beginning of their recovery. This unique combination of pool and land physical therapy enables our patients to regain function and return to their normal lives more quickly. When they leave CompletePT they have improved levels of fitness compared to their pre-injury state.

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