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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


RESENDE, SM  and  RASSI, CM. Effects of hydrotherapy in balance and prevention of falls among elderly women. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2008, vol.12, n.1, pp.57-63. ISSN 1413-3555.

BACKGROUND: Hydrotherapy is used to treat rheumatic, orthopedic and neurological disorders. It has been the subject of investigations regarding balance recovery in elderly people. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a hydrotherapy program for balance, in relation to the risk of falls in elderly women. METHODS: This was a quasi-experimental before/after study without a control group. Twenty-five elderly women were evaluated using two scales: the Berg Balance Scale and Timed Up & Go. The subjects underwent, subsequently, a low to moderate intensity hydrotherapy program for balance, which consisted of three phases: a phase of adaptation to the aquatic environment, a stretching phase and a phase of static and dynamic balance exercises. The program was applied for 12 weeks, with two sessions per week, each session lasting 40 minutes. The elderly women were reassessed after the sixth and twelfth weeks of the hydrotherapy program. The data were analyzed statistically by means of Student's t test for paired samples and the Wilcoxon test. RESULTS: Hydrotherapy promoted significant increases in the elderly women's balance, as assessed using the Berg Balance Scale (p< 0.001) and the Timed Up & Go test (p< 0.001). There was also a reduction of the scores in a scale of risk of falls (p< 0.001), according to the model of Shumway-Cook et al. CONCLUSIONS: It can be suggested that this hydrotherapy program for balance gave rise to an increase in balance and a possible reduction in the risk of falls among these aged women.

Keywords : hydrotherapy; physical therapy; musculoskeletal equilibrium; accidental falls; aged person.

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