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WST and BRRM in the UK by Johan lambeck

Water Specific Therapy

Water Specific Therapy (WST) – previously known as Halliwick-therapy - is THE aquatic therapy concept worldwide, included in more than 60 published research articles, see at . WST covers virtually all neuromusculoskeletal ICF-goals including one of the most important topics in rehabilitation: postural control. WST ranges from muscle strengthening, increasing range of motion, decreasing pain to core stability, agility and fall prevention. WST can be used to evoke subtle muscle contractions that are unable to be generated on land. WST is applied from pediatrics to geriatrics and has been taught in over 60 countries.

 It is an aquatic therapy with elements of the Halliwick 10 point-programme swimming method that are used as pretraining for exercises that use the fluidmechanical properties of water: flow conditions (turbulence), waves of transmission and metacentric effects (using the change of gravity and buoyancy induced torques). A clinical question in WST could be: “can metacentric effects be used to train central stability in an ataxic patient”? 

WST was developed by a team of physiotherapists in Switzerland in the early seventies, supporting James McMillan in his efforts to develop Halliwick towards a “Halliwick-Therapy”. The development still continues, following contemporary issues in health care. Examples are executive functions, muscle power training, enhancing facial resilience or modifying neuroinflammation.

WST = motor learning in water to be used on land, whereas Halliwick = motor learning in water to be used in water


Bad Ragaz Ring Method (BRRM)

Around 1955, physiotherapists in the German city of Wildbad started resistance exercise in the pool with patients in a supine position. Supported by a neck collar and car tubes around the pelvis and the ankles (when necessary). This method was quickly used in Bad Ragaz, where three-dimensional patterns of proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) were included in the early sixties. This was the start of a long history of adaptations to the state of the art in aquatic PNF. The key element is the activation of muscles in myofascial chains as a preparation for functional activities in water and on land. Recently, principles of muscular fine tuning, PNF techniques (like a combination of isotonics), and training physiology have been included. Also, concepts like functional kinetics and core stabilization are part of contemporary BRRM and are applied to working with neurologic, orthopedic, and rheumatic populations. See

Examples of contemporary topics that are included in the course are:

Reversals of antagonists: Reversals increase strength much more than contractions in one direction.

Combination of isotonics: the eccentric component is very important to balance inflammation reactions in, e.g., the muscle envelope.

proprioceptive discrimination training in an environment in which pain is "under the radar", in order to influence neuro-inflammation, e.g., in low back pain

Three-dimensional movements are essential to proper mechanotransduction, using fascia properties.

The tensegrity of the intramuscular fascia can be trained by smooth, variable contractions, which add to fascia resilience.

Conference presentations Leuven 2015

aqua leuven

Conference presentations Querétaro 2016


Conference presentations Mysore 2017

india 2017