Contraindications for Aquatic Bodywork

Absolute Contraindications - not appropriate for aquatic bodywork

  • fever over 100 degrees

  • uncontrolled epilepsy

  • cardiac failure

  • significant open wounds

  • respiratory disease of vital capacity less than 1500 cm2

  • severe urinary tract infection

  • severe respiratory tract infection

  • blood infection

  • tracheotomy

  • bowel incontinence

  • menstruation without internal protection

  • infectious disease

Relative Contraindications - may not be appropriate / necessary precaution may need to be taken

  • skin infections with drainage

  • small open wounds (can be covered with tegraderm)

  • uncontrolled blood pressure (moderate high blood pressure OK, but be careful with low blood pressure; ask doctor)

  • unstable angina, cardiac arrhythmia or additional cardiac considerations (ask doctor if it would be appropriate to go in warm water)

  • intravenous lines, heplocks, hichman line, external collection devices (ask doctor)

  • cerebral hemorrhage (should wait at least 3 weeks after bleeding has ceased; ask doctor)

  • multiple sclerosis - may not tolerate warm water well (depends on client)

  • chlorine sensitivity

  • absence of cough reflex (would need to be monitored closely)

  • dizziness (see below - vertigo)

  • behavior problems that lead to inappropriate physical, verbal or sexual behavior

Range of motion precautions - client needs to get doctor permission

  • recent total hip replacement

  • recent spinal surgery

  • recent surgery

  • acute ligamentous instability

  • recent bone fracture

  • arthritic cervical spine (be very careful with neck position, especially hyperextension)

  • Pain with spinal or peripheral joint range of motion - many can be treated with modifications to Watsu technique, just ask client to give feedback during the Watsu if a particular movement is aggravating their symptoms

  • back/neck pain - bulged/herniated disc, facet irritation, spondylolethesis, arthritis (avoid extreme positions of spine)

  • frequent ear infections - may be appropriate to use ear plugs or medication

  • Excessive vertigo (dizziness) or other vestibular disorders - need to move slowly and monitor client's tolerance frequently, especially with first Watsu. To check tolerance, ask client to open eyes during Watsu and check for nystagmus (involuntary rhythmical movement of the eyes back and forth), as well as asking if client feels dizzy or nauseous.

Source: Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association