Research Reveals Hydrotherapy Benefits in Sports Related Type Injuries

VIDEO: Watch as Golf Channel analyst and former professional golfer, Val Skinner interviews Dr. James Andrews on his opinion of hydromassage from a medical stand point.Dr. Andrews is a renowned orthopedic surgeon, past president of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and has served as LPGA medical director since 1991. He has worked with professional athletes from various sports including Michael Jordan, Beth Daniel, Drew Brees, Brett Favre and Jack Nicklaus.

Professional athletes have long known the value of hydromassage, but anyone can incorporate similar therapy to aid in relieving aches, pains and sore muscles. Aside from treatment of common injuries, hydrotherapy spas also contribute to uplifting the spirits and promoting relaxation, which Dr. Andrews considers very beneficial to overall well being and recovery. To watch Skinner’s interview of Dr. Andrews, simply click the arrow in the middle of the video above. You can also read the hydromassage interview recap below.

Skinner: We’re here today to talk about how hydrotherapy spas can help and benefit sports injuries.

Dr. Andrews: Research for a long time has shown that hydrotherapy can be really beneficial in treating a number of sports related type injuries. There’s a serious side to the Jacuzzi hot tub.

Skinner: How do you maximize those hydromassage benefits in training and also in the physical therapy part of recovery?

Dr. Andrews: Heat promotes circulation, sensory impulses, it makes you feel good- there’s an enjoyment factor. But you know, we’re doing more than just treating the injury. We’re treating the mind and the spirit, and so, there’s a lot of relaxation that goes along with a hydrotherapy spa, along with treatment of the actual problem with increased circulation. Stiff joints are very compatible to it being approved with hydrotherapy so there are a lot of benefits beyond pure enjoyment of warm water.

Skinner: You’ve been called the “M.V.D.” –the Most Valuable Doctor, how do you, first of all, come by that kind of reputation?

Dr. Andrews: Well, I’ve been asked that question a number of times. I think I’ve been blessed. I didn’t plan it. I’ve always loved sports and I’ve made myself available. I think communication is a big part of the success and just being in the right place at the right time, but I’ve never analyzed that to answer your question.

Skinner: Are there specific injuries that are really common to use of hydrotherapy?

Dr. Andrews: Hydrotherapy has the advantage of buoyancy, so you could put people in hydrotherapy that can’t really take full weight bearing activities for fitness. They could decrease their body weight through buoyancy and could exercise. So for me, in sports medicine, that’s the advantage when you get technical about it. We use a lot of hydrotherapy for that particular play of exercise on somebody that can’t take full weight bearing for degenerative joints, say, the knee or the hips, or the ankle and we could exercise them in hydrotherapy and we could decrease the stiffness of the joint and yet we could get them moving and we could use the resistance of the water for actual exercise.

Skinner: So if you have the likes of Michelle Wee, Morgan Pressel or Paula Creamer come to you and say I’m a little bit stiff in my joints, I’m feeling a little bit tight. You would have them jump in the hot tub, is there anything specific that you would require them to do?

Dr. Andrews: You got to watch what you’re really treating and the water temperature has to be adjusted depending what you’re really trying to go after. Obviously it got to be for stiff joints you got a certain temperature up around 100 degrees, for lesser problems you’re getting just tepid water, so it depends. It’s more sophisticated that probably the average person realizes but when you get after real hydrotherapy for different problems

Skinner: You use a hot tub to relieve some of the stress post or pre surgery

Dr. Andrews: Absolutely. Usually when I get in a hydromassage spa it’s after I play golf. Obviously at my age I don’t get to play that often. I’ve got stiff joints and so relaxing in a hydromassage spa after a golf outing or if I’m on vacation where I’m really doing some activity that I’m not really use to, -that’s when I really enjoy  a hot tub. It really stimulates you and it’s enjoyable.

Skinner: The weekend golfer, average handicapper, amateur, and professional golfer can all benefit from hydromassage in a Jacuzzi hot tub.