Question: Does hydrotherapy improve the mental wellbeing of individuals
with chronic conditions to a greater extent than a physiotherapy
prescribed home exercise program alone?
Design: Randomised crossover pilot study
Intervention: During the intervention period hydrotherapy sessions
were conducted for 45 minutes, twice weekly for four weeks (mean water
Outcome Measures: Warwick-Edinburgh Well-being Scale (WEWBS) and
Short Form 36 (SF36) self-administered questionnaires.
Results: Ten participants (female n=9: male n=1: mean age=70±8.85
years) were included in this study. Following a paired t-test used to assess
the relative intervention effect, significant improvements (p=0.034) in
mental wellbeing, as measured by the WEWBS, were found following
the hydrotherapy intervention period. SF36-Physical Capacity Scores
approached, but did not achieve significance (p=0.061) while the SF36-
Mental Capacity Scores did not reach statistical significance (p=0.538)
following the hydrotherapy intervention. No significant difference in
change in outcome measures was detected when sequencing effects were
examined using independent t-tests following the cross over (p=0.153
Conclusion: Hydrotherapy may enhance mental wellbeing and health
as well as physical health to a greater extent than a physiotherapy
prescribed home exercise program alone for individuals with a chronic
condition. However this was not consistent among mental wellbeing and
Key Practice Points:
• Hydrotherapy is a viable treatment to improve a sense of wellbeing in
patients with chronic conditions.
• Objective outcome results may vary depending on the tool used.
• Hydrotherapy may also provide ancillary improvements in physical
capacity as measure by the SF 36 in these patients.