Mahir Reiss Reflects on the Uses of Aquatic Therapy


Mahir Reiss is a physical therapist in San Diego, California who has more than 35 years of experience in treating injuries, promoting healing after surgery, and handling chronic pain. Dr. Reiss and his staff rely heavily on aquatic therapy to help a patient heal without putting further stress on an injured body part.

Aquatic therapy is a form of low-impact treatment that helps to promote recovery by relieving strain on bones, muscles, and joints. The ability to swim is not even a requirement for engaging in this type of healing. Just like with land-based therapy, patients who want to undergo aquatic therapy receive an evaluation and engage in a personalized treatment plan.

The reason that aquatic therapy is so useful is because it relies on the buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure, fluid resistance, and warmth offered by water. These properties promote healing, and help to rebuild the strength in the affected body part without offering too much resistance after an injury has occurred. This low-stress setting is perfect for improving mobility, and can soothe back and leg pain, relax stiff joints, and prove useful for overweight patients. The warm temperature of the pool makes it an enjoyable experience for a patient.

The buoyancy of the warm therapeutic pool helps to relieve pain and improve a person’s endurance, strength, and range of motion after they have endured surgery or gone through an injury. The fluid resistance found in the pool allows a patient to work specifically on the injured area, without providing too much of a challenge right away. In many ways, aquatic therapy offers the same benefits of land-based treatment, but without as much impact and strain on the body.

Mahir Reiss comments on the use of aquatic therapy stating, “For many people, aquatic therapy is the most useful and healing type of treatment that they can engage in. It helps to make a person weightless, which is often essential when it comes to rebuilding strength after an injury. Many times, a person is not able to support their own body weight as they recovery, and needs to work on rebuilding strength in a gentle way. Aquatic therapy is the perfect solution. It never adds too much resistance for the body, but is still useful when it comes to promoting healing and recovery.”

Physical therapy professionals use warm pools to work on pain and dysfunction from joint replacements, osteoporosis, arthritis, tight joints and muscles, muscle weakness, poor motor coordination, fibromyalgia, edema and more. The treatment plan has also become useful for those who are recovering from strokes, or dealing with Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

There are many different ways that a practitioner can use a physical therapy pool. Some professionals opt to use an underwater treadmill or mechanical weights. Flotation devices and other exercise aids are also popular when it comes to building an underwater physical therapy routine.

Mahir Reiss states, “Depending on the patient’s needs and abilities, the practitioner can build a routine using a variety of different tools. From treadmills to weights to simply using the resistance from the water, aquatic therapy presents a range of options that can get customized to meet a person’s needs. Just like with land-based treatment, a physical therapist has many options when it comes to using the water to treat a patient.”

While the treatment plan is water-based, the ultimate goal of engaging in aquatic therapy is to bolster the way a person is able to function on land. The use of therapy pools can prove beneficial when it comes to getting an individual back to their ideal levels of activity. Many physical therapists begin their clients in a water-based program, and then slowly move them back to a land-based therapy treatment. The aquatic therapy is useful in quickly promoting healing and muscle development, which then allows an individual to try land-based therapy as they continue to get their strength back.

Dr. Reiss comments on this stating, “Aquatic therapy and land-based therapy programs are not mutually exclusive. In many cases, the most effective way to treat a patient is to get them feeling stronger in the water. Once their mobility, strength, and flexibility is improved, they can begin participating in a land-based program to finish up the healing and recovery processes. Just like any form of treatment, aquatic therapy requires dedication and consistency, but patients often experience an easier healing process when they begin their treatment in the water.”

Mahir Reiss advises those who are trying to come back from injury or surgery to consider pursuing aquatic therapy as an option for treatment.



Mahir Reiss is a physical therapist who owns his own practice in San Diego, California. At Reiss and Westwood Physical Therapy, patients use a variety of treatment methods in order to find healing. Whether they are recovering from surgery, dealing with chronic pain, or hoping to find strength after sustaining a serious injury, clients enjoy personalized treatment plans that work with their strengths and desired activity levels. Dr. Reiss has 35 years of clinical experience in the physical therapy industry.