Oxford Community Aqua Wellbeing is a water-based rehabilitation programme designed to be fun and beneficial for people with a range of health issues.
Water-based rehabilitation can also be called aquatic therapy or hydrotherapy.
Affordable Aqua Exercise Classes in Oxford
Established in 2018 Oxford Community Aqua Wellbeing (OCAW) was conceived as a result of a belief that aquatic therapy should be made available to everyone, at an affordable price.
Ben Wilkins, a Registered Osteopath, together with Physiotherapy students Alun Bonello, Hilary Smith and Medical student Annie Archer came up with the concept for OCAW after discussing their frustrations with the obstacles of the current healthcare system.
Specialist hydrotherapy pools are a limited resource. The pools are relatively shallow (often up to 1.5 metres deep) and the water temperature is kept at a pleasant 30-35 degrees Celsius. However, private sessions in these pools are expensive and NHS waiting lists can be long.
Through their combined expertise, the group decided to tackle this problem by designing an aquatic rehabilitation programme that can be tailored to individual needs, and be delivered at local swimming pools for small to medium size groups.
The Benefits of Water Therapy & Exercise
Hydrotherapy as a healthcare intervention for a range of musculoskeletal conditions is highly regarded and the use of water therapy has been used for hundreds of years.
Aquatic exercise has been shown to increase general mobility in a safe and effective way. The buoyancy effect of the water - this is what gives you the ability to float - reduces the amount of weight the bones, muscles and joints have to bear, this in turn reduces the amount of stress on the joints and helps minimise pain.
Research has shown that such aquatic rehabilitation programmes are beneficial for a range of conditions including back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, hip and knee joint replacements, joint sprains, shoulder rehabilitation and general fitness.
If you're interested in finding out more about the research behind hydrotherapy and aquatic rehabilitation, please click here.
What people say
My specialist has been amazed at my progression since I started the sessions.
It's been a huge help to overcome my problems with walking. It's also enormously helpful in keeping me cheerful and optimistic.
My mother is moving better when she walks. She no longer shuffles like she did before.