Navy Integrates Hydrotherapy into Physical Fitness Program

NORFOLK, VA -- The highly-specialized human performance initiative (HPI) in place at Naval Special Warfare Group (NSWG) 4 recently added a hydrotherapy pool to its inventory of equipment used to prolong a special boat operator’s career.

HPI is an ongoing series of assessments, exercises, nutritional guidelines and therapies used by Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and SEALs across the NSWG 4 claimancy. The program is modeled after similar programs used by professional sports organizations, such as the National Football League. Its primary goal is to prevent or heal the damage done to a SWCC or SEAL’s body simply because of the nature of his or her daily duties, thereby increasing career longevity.

The pool is 15 feet long by 7 feet wide and is 4 ½ feet deep. It holds approximately 2,000 gallons of water and has two high-powered water jets that push water over a built-in treadmill to provide different degrees of resistance.

The most significant benefit of having the pool available to the SWCC is that it allows them to begin certain rehabilitation exercises weeks before they would be able to on solid ground. Hydrotherapy resistance training also increases strength and range of motion in joints and muscles.

“At this depth, the body is bearing only 25 percent of its weight,” says Mike Strock, the HPI program manager for NSWG 4. “It allows us to train the boat operators in a low impact environment, accelerating the rehabilitation time.”

SWCC and support staff members who are recovering from surgery or have lower back issues have been taking advantage of the pool since it opened this summer.

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