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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust


Hydrotherapy is a theraputic treatment that involves moving and exercising in water

Hydrotherapy pool

Hydrotherapy is the combination of the effects of immersion and exercise and therefore further benefits are those associated with general exercise. This is achieved through the utilisation of the properties of water eg. (warmth and buoyancy). For example, enhanced physical and mental well-being. Our pool temperature is maintained between 35-36°C and the quality of the water is checked and maintained daily by our estates department. The pool has two levels and is deep enough to stand and walk around in. Access to the pool is via easy steps with handrails for support but there is also a full body hoist which has a maximum weight limit of 25 stone. 

Hydrotherapy is accepted as an integral part of rehabilitation. Common benefits include:

  • Ease of movement and pain relief
  • Reduction of muscle tone / spasm
  • Reduction of swelling
  • Resistance to movement
  • Enhanced relaxation
  • Enhanced well-being
  • Functional activity re-activation
  • Enhanced cardio-vascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Increased range of movement at a joint
  • Early rehabiliation of weight bearing or gait retraining
  • When patients are unable to complete land-based exercises
  • Improved core stability

There are two members of staff present at all times. You can expect your hydrotherapy treatment to be directed from either the poolside or from a physiotherapist in the water with you. Appointments can consist of a group of maximum of four people, shared treatment sessions are a maximum of two people.

Private sessions in the pool are available and include a full assessment, please contact the Cornelia suite for more details.

Children's Hydrotherapy

If your child has been referred for hydrotherapy, please read our hydrotherapy information sheet


Facilities and useful information

There are full changing and showering facilities available. There is non-slip matting in the shower area. Disabled facilities are also available. You will be required to wear your own swimming costume and we encourage you to bring your own towel and shower gel etc. You will be required to have a short shower before and after your hydrotherapy session in order to remove any creams, lotions and chlorine from your skin.Outdoor footwear is not permitted to be worn on the surrounding poolside area but you may wear clean non-slip shoes for the transition from changing area to poolside. There is also a handrail in this area for further support. If you usually carry a GTN spray, an inhaler for a respiratory problem please ensure that you bring these with you. If you are a diabetic, please bring your glucose testing kit with you to check your blood sugars prior to entering the pool.

Absolute contraindications to hydrotherapy

  • Uncontrolled cardiac failure
  • Resting angina
  • Short of breath at rest
  • Medically unstable following an acute episode e.g. CVA, DVT, PE
  • Acute vomiting and/or diarrhea



You may be referred into hydrotherapy by your NHS physiotherapist, to see your NHS physiotherapist you will need a referral from your GP, consultant or via NHS staff self referral scheme from occupational health.


Contact us

Please call and leave a message if:                  

  • You are feeling unwell
  • If you have a high temperature or infection
  • If you have any new open wounds or scar sites
  • If your medical history has changed recently
  • If you have changed or started new medications
  • If you have experienced any gastric upset within the last 24 hours

Contact number: 0300 019 2121


Classes and information

Hydrotherapy back classes consist of an evidence based exercises, we use plenty of equipment and host a lively event. Classes are held twice a week, a maximum of four patients allowed per class, usually you will agree an amount of sessions with your physiotherapist, typically a maximum of four sessions. Remember to take things at your own pace.

The class is managed by a senior physiotherapist and run by a qualified member of staff.

Class days and times: Tuesdays 1:30 - 2pm, Thursday 9 – 9:30am (we do not run sessions on bank holidays).

Class location: The hydro back class is run in the therapy services department which is located on the lower ground floor, entrance 8 at Poole hospital. Please report to the physiotherapy outpatients reception on arrival, then take a seat in the waiting area near the hydrotherapy pool and you will be called into the class.

Here are some exercise sheets for you to practice.

If unable to attend please let us know 0300 019 2121. If we are not informed this will go down as a ‘did not attend’. You will then be discharged and this will be corresponded to your GP.

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