I’m going to let you in on a little secret: There is no
recession in aquatic therapy or rehab. And your pool will work for
therapeutic exercise regardless of water temperature, depth and
other pool features.
The potential for this market is incredible, and the ways to tap
into it are many. Consider group or one-on-one programs for
arthritis; multiple sclerosis; prenatal conditions; obesity; hip or
knee replacements; back surgery or pain; stroke clients;
fibromyalgia; asthma (or any COPD); diabetes; coronary artery
disease; shoulder pain or surgery; or general aging (inactive)
People who have weakness, pain, decreased range of motion, limited
mobility, swelling, loss of balance, or have recently undergone
surgery or experienced an injury are ideal candidates. The water is
an excellent medium for all those populations — even if
Does the idea of adding aquatic therapy and rehab seem
overwhelming? The truth is, it’s not hard if you take it by
steps. The first step is deciding how to deliver rehab and
therapeutic exercise. You have four options that you can use individually or together.
1. Rent or lease space in your pool to therapists, hospitals or therapy clinics.
2. Hire therapists or aquatic practitioners as independent contractors .
3. Hire therapists or aquatic practitioners as employees.
4. Train your current staff to provide therapeutic exercise services.
Using these four options, here are some income/expense generalizations:
• If you rent or lease pool space to therapists, hospitals or
therapy clinics, the going rate seems to vary from $25-$75 per hour per lane.
• If you subcontract by hiring an independent contractor, the
rental/leasing fees are the same. Another option is to negotiate
the rent as 25- to 40 percent of their income.
• If you hire physical therapists, expect to pay them
approximately $40 or more per hour.
• If you train your current staff, the rate is up to you.
This option can help you with staff retention because it gives you
the ability to pay the staff more, give them full-time jobs and
offer them benefits.
Let’s take the option of renting one lane to two therapists.
Charge $40 per hour for the lane. Only give them your slower time
after morning lap swim and before evening lap swim. You will
realize at least $300 per day or $1,500 a week of additional
income. The biggest benefit (besides the income) is that
there’s no extra work for you except negotiating the lease
and putting up signage that a lane is closed.
The train-your-own-staff option involves more work for you. The
additional work may include arranging for training, taking calls
and scheduling clients and staff, and being involved with these
clients on a daily basis. The income is greater, but the work is
Offering pool time to special populations can add to your public
image, increase your revenue and visibility — it can become a
member program. When these people are released from one-on-one
programming, they will often continue their exercise independently
in your pool.
So go ahead, try aquatic therapy and rehab! Then watch your pool
fill with grateful people bringing you money.