What is the ideal water temperature for a stroke survivor to do warm water therapy?
There is never one answer for anything to do with water since there are so many variables to consider. I would say a ballpark figure for temperature for someone recovering from a stroke would be 89 to 91 degrees. This would be for a person with very slow mobility who is unable to maintain/generate thermal regulation.
To give a more exact answer, you would have to know more information such as:
- What is the degree of ability of the stroke victim? For instance, can he or she walk in the pool with help, or is the rehab being done in a floating position where the stroke victim's limbs are helped with movement?
- Is there paralysis (i.e., total or partial)?
- Do they have Aphasia (i.e., unable to communicate or understand the spoken language), which would impair the ability to follow instructions and affect the speed of any movement.
- How long will they be in the pool?
- Where is the pool (i.e., indoors or outdoors)? If it is indoors, you wouldn't want the water to be much warmer than 90 degrees as breathing could become a factor with really warm water and air humidity. If the pool is outdoors, the temperature of the air should be ideally five degrees warmer than the pool (which is unlikely), or the client should wear something warm such as a thermal vest or polyester shirt to keep the upper body warm. Keep in mind the upper body could be out of the water if working in an upright position.
- Is the client male or female? What is his/her body composition?
I have seen rehab being done in much cooler water (82 to 84 degrees), but this is because that is all that was available. The clients were grateful to have any help, and they dressed warmly and had two helpers each to keep their limbs moving.
I hope the above comments are helpful. As usual, there is no hard and fast formula for anyone. Each person is different, and that is how you have to play it.