The professional field of aquatic therapy is still in its infancy, but the use of water for therapeutic purposes is an ancient practice. The ancient Greeks and Romans bathed in hot springs thousands of years ago, enjoying the benefits of improved circulation and relaxation from immersion in the warm water.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, a therapeutic spa and medical center was developed in Switzerland, where people would come from many miles to experience the healing power of this special water. In 1957, a flotation support was developed and used in conjunction with exercises performed in this special spa. This method evolved into what is now known as the popular Bad Ragaz Ring Method of aquatic therapy. Using the Bad Ragaz Ring Method, the therapist creates progressions using passive and active exercises, moving the patient through the water in a supine position.
This method uses the physical properties of water as a tool for muscle reeducation and uses specific patterns of resistance, relaxation, range of motion, and elongation to build endurance and reduce tone.
Aquatic therapy practices have evolved since the beginning of the treatment option over one hundred years ago and will more than likely continue to do so. Aquatic therapists that are currently in the field, as well as those acquiring education in an effort to become an aquatic therapist, are constantly learning and expanding upon old techniques as well as developing new ones.