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J Athl Train. 2000 Jul-Sep; 35(3): 382–389.
PMCID: PMC1323400

Aquatic-Based Rehabilitation and Training for the Shoulder

Jill M. Thein, MPT, ATC* and Lori Thein Brody, PT, SCS, MS, ATC



To describe the application of aquatic rehabilitative exercise to injuries of the upper extremity.


Water has been used for centuries as a medium for rehabilitation, relaxation, and training. Athletes use the pool to rehabilitate specific injuries, as a training medium during injury recovery, and as an alternative training site. The pool can be used to rehabilitate a number of upper extremity impairments, as well as to restore functional movement patterns in a resistive medium.


Exercises can be modified to be performed in pools of varying size and depth. Well-chosen equipment will enhance the rehabilitative opportunities for the clinician and patient.

Clinical Advantages:

All aspects of the rehabilitation program, including passive stretching, resistive exercise, functional movement patterns, and cardiovascular training, can take place in the same location. The water's warmth and buoyancy enhance stretching, while the buoyancy allows initiation of resistive exercise at a low level. The water's viscosity provides resistance throughout a movement pattern in any plane.

Full text

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association