Hydrotherapy at Derriford Hospital

Image of our Hydrotherapy Pool

Enjoy the freedom of movement in a weightless environment

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a form of Physiotherapy where specific exercises are carried out in a purpose-built warm pool that is kept between 35.5 and 37 degrees Celsius.

The benefits of water based exercise have been well recognised for thousands of years – dating as far back as the Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations.

What are the benefits of hydrotherapy? 

  • The warm water helps the muscles to relax which can ease pain and make exercise easier. 
  • The buoyancy of the water helps to support body weight, which can relieve pressure on joints, reduce pain and increase your movement. 
  • Exercise against the resistance of the water can improve muscle strength, co-ordination, endurance and balance. 
  • Hydrotherapy can help improve circulation and reduce swelling. 
  • Improve general physical condition and well being 

What conditions can benefit from Hydrotherapy?

Some examples: 

  • Low Back Pain 
  • Hypermobility Syndrome 
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis 
  • Fibromyalgia syndrome 
  • Multiple trauma 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Post fracture/orthopaedic surgery 

Do I need to be a strong swimmer?

You do not need to be able to swim to use our hydrotherapy pool. The pool is 1 metre deep as you enter and 1.3 m at its deepest so you will never be out of your depth.

Please let the Physiotherapist know if you are feeling nervous or anxious about your treatment. You will be supervised and assisted throughout your hydrotherapy session. 

Are there any side effects?

The warmth of the water and exercise may make you feel tired - this is perfectly normal and should improve after a few sessions.

After treatment it is advisable to have a shower. This will remove the chlorine from your skin and help you to cool down before you get dressed.

We have a water dispenser located by the pool and we encourage you to have a drink before and after each session.

If at any stage you feel faint, dizzy and generally unwell or experience chest pain you must tell your Physiotherapist.

How do I get a hydrotherapy referral?

Your GP or consultant may refer you for hydrotherapy if he/she feels it might be beneficial, or alternatively if you are already receiving physiotherapy treatment the therapist can also refer you to hydrotherapy.

Your appointment will be arranged by our hydrotherapy team and each session lasts for approximately 30 minutes. It is a group setting however it is not a class and your programme will be individually tailored towards your condition. The sessions are run with both you and the Hydrotherapist in the pool, where you will complete a variety of exercises appropriate to your condition.

Hydrotherapy is not appropriate if you are experiencing any of the following: 

  • Feeling generally unwell 
  • Open wounds or skin infections 
  • Cold, virus, raised temperature 
  • Diarrhoea +/- vomiting - must be at least 2 weeks clear of symptoms 
  • Inability to stand unaided 
  • Incontinence 
  • Angina, cardiac and respiratory conditions - this will be discussed and screened further by your referring Physiotherapist prior to hydrotherapy. 
  • Shortness of breath on lying flat 
  • Weight over 25 stone (due to the capacity of the hoisting equipment)

Our facilities 

  • 1 metre at shallow end 1.3 metres at deep end 
  • Temperature maintained between 35.5 - 37 °C. 
  • Shallow steps to access 
  • Hand rails throughout the perimeter of the pool 
  • Hoist available for pool entry 
  • Curtained cubicles for dressing 
  • Showers poolside and lockers available for valuables

What happens when I am discharged?

On average we are only able to see you for 6-8 sessions in our pool. Not only do we encourage a self-management healthcare ethos but due to high referral rates we need to ensure the service is available to all. However, once you have completed your course of hydrotherapy we will encourage you to attend a local pool to carry on the exercises you have been shown. Click here for details of local pool facilities.

Image of our Hydrotherapy Pool

Are you part of a group that may benefit from Hydrotherapy?

Derriford Hydrotherapy Pool is now available to hire (Facility Only).

At least 3 members of the group will need to be trained in safe evacuation from the pool and all such training will be conducted by Hydrotherapy Staff.

There is also an expectation that at least one member of the group will have a current certificate in a nationally recognised Basic Life Support course.

Groups will be required to provide their own Insurance and Public Liability Cover .
For further information please contact:

Nicki Martin, Director of Therapies nicki.martin@nhs.net

Baz Jambor, Lead Hydrotherapist balazs.jambor@nhs.net

Click here to download our flyer.

Contacting the Hydrotherapy Pool

Telephone: 01752 432208

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