Veteran Ken Mandrell had been in for leg and shoulder therapy in the past with VA services, but this time around, he was introduced to a new type of therapy being offered by the Marion, Illinois, VA.

“Doing therapy in the pool is a lot easier than walking with gravity.  When I had leg surgery in the past, my legs were bruised and there was a lot more pain,” says Mandrell about his aquatic therapy.  Even though he has only been in aquatic therapy for a couple of weeks and is still getting used to it, the benefits of strengthening muscles underwater are evident.

A man holds two water weights in a pool.

Ken Mandrell working float exercises at the Marion VA Aquatic Therapy pool.

For Army Veteran Mandrell, aquatic therapy had been suggested prior to his surgery in efforts to shorten the amount of therapy needed post-surgery.

“In the water, our patients can do exercises that they can’t do on land” explains physical therapist Marsha Capel.  “Aquatic therapy can be helpful for Veterans with arthritis, trying to decrease pain and increase their value of life,” says Capel.

When a patient comes in for a physical therapy appointment, they get evaluated and referred to aquatic therapy.  They can get aquatic appointments anywhere from 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks and then they get re-evaluated by the physical therapist to see what adjustments need to be made, if any.

“We may be focusing on the patient’s lower back for these exercises but the patient gets help for the arms and legs too, one of the benefits of pool therapy” explains Capel.  The same exercises that patients are asked to do on land are better tolerated in the water.

Veterans interested in learning more about aquatic therapy, should ask their physical therapist about the possibilities of including this type of therapy to your treatment.

About the Author: Williams Martinez is a Public Affairs Specialist at Marion VA Medical Center

Share this story

Published on Jan. 14, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.7 min.

Views to date: 108


  1. James E Townsend January 17, 2016 at 11:28 am

    The VA is out of touch with the patient! When you get a therapy that works ,the red tape and the bottom line is all there is. Not what is helping you? I’ll bet if you were to ask the veteran, instead of the therapy business, you would likely have a better idea of what works , (for the patient).
    Come on man?

  2. j reynolds January 15, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Tell the Sepulveda VA (North Los Angeles) to hire a new pool therapist so we can have our Ladies’ class reinstated. We are down to ONE co-ed class per week in a smalll pool meant for about 10 people max.So disgraceful how we are treated – to lose our only source of great exercise option for us elderly vets.

  3. Patrick jahnke January 15, 2016 at 12:16 am

    What ever happened to 5.9 millions article? To the 26 tribes, I bet it got 1000 of negative responds come on are u ashamed to delete from what the va government doing and made huge mistake, it was homeless on tribe land, to help homeless will I guess they took it off the site.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • More than 821,000 Veterans who want the convenience of an easy app on their smartphones are downloading VA’s Health and Benefits mobile app.

  • PTSD Bytes: Host Pearl McGee-Vincent discusses PTSD and relationships with Dr. Leslie Morland and Dr. Kayla Knopp, clinical and research psychologists.

  • Clinical simulation training has expanded rapidly and nearly any clinical scenario can be created and taught. Orlando VA trains of hundreds of professionals in their labs.