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Water-Based Intervention for

Musculoskeletal Disorders

Location: Hudson, WI (Located approximately 30 minutes from Minneapolis, MN)

Dates:   September 23-24, 2023

Hours: 16 hours

Credits through FSBPT: 16 CCUs

Instructor: Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

ATU Course #: PS801

Cost: Course Only $595, Course and Boot Camp $695

Click to     Register and Pay


The course is designed to rapidly introduce participants to basic and intermediate aquatic treatment ideas for the musculoskeletal patient. It will provide an overview of treatments pertinent to pediatric, adult and geriatric practices, with an emphasis on the following musculoskeletal conditions: s/p fracture, internal trauma, sprain, strain or dislocation, s/p joint replacement (e.g. TKR), s/p tendon or ligament repair (e.g. ACL), arthritis, chronic pain syndromes (e.g. fibromyalgia), and back and neck dysfunction. Provides participants with insight into musculoskeletal-specific precautions and contraindications to immersion. Teaches participants to justify aquatic therapy interventions to payers and referral sources. Includes an 8 hour aquatic lab of the most clinically useful elements of popular aquatic specialty techniques for the musculoskeletal population.


1. Verbally justify why aquatic therapy may be the treatment of choice if (a) the patient is difficult to support or handle, (b) the patient is in pain, or (c) if the therapist cannot adequately access the patient’s body on land, (d) the patient has lower extremity swelling.

2. Verbally describe 3-4 aquatic precautions and contraindications specific to the patient with musculoskeletal complaints.

3. Given a case scenario, make an argument for and against the relative merits of allowing patients with a specific precaution to participate in aquatic therapy.

4. Gather, organize, and synthesize information regarding what payers (including Medicare) have to say about aquatic therapy for the patient with musculoskeletal complaints.

5. Make a 3 minute verbal “case” for providing aquatic therapy services for a patient with a specific musculoskeletal condition. Be able to identify, locate, and analyze supportive research to bolster your case.

6. With supervision and insruction, progress a specific aquatic task from a lower level of function towards increased independence. Repeat without supervision or instruction.

7. Demonstrate 3-4 aquatic therapeutic movements, tasks, or exercises designed to:

  • increase strength
  • improve ROM
  • decrease pain and muscle spasm
  • improve trunk stability
  • improve posture, weight-bearing, balance, gait and proprioception
  • improve functional skills

8. Select, justify the choice, then demonstrate 1-2 aquatic tasks or activities from each of the following specialty techniques (as each relates to the client with musculoskeletal complaints):

  • Aquatic adaptations of the Berg
  • Aquatic manual therapy and stretching
  • Aquatic yoga
  • Bad Ragaz Ring Method
  • Functional skills training
  • Progressive resistive exercise
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF)
  • Salzman Blanket Drills (SBDs)
  • Trunk stabilization
  • Watsu

9. Working with a partner, develop and implement a 15-minute aquatic treatment plan (including equipment selection) for 1-2 of the following conditions:

  • s/p fracture, internal trauma, sprain, strain or dislocation
  • s/p joint replacement (e.g. TKR)
  • s/p tendon or ligament repair (e.g. ACL)
  • arthritis
  • chronic pain syndromes (e.g. fibromyalgia)
  • back and neck dysfunction

Target Audience

PT's, PTA's, OT's, COTA's, SLP's, and other aquatic professionals.


Day 1

8:00-8:30 Registration

8:30-12:00 Lecture

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:45 Pool lab

3:45-4:00 Energy break

4:00-5:30 Pool lab

5:30-5:45 Wrap-Up and Questions

Day 2

8:00-12:00 Lecture

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-3:30 Pool lab

3:30-3:45 Energy break

3:45-5:15 Pool lab

5:15-5:30 Wrap-up and questions

Lecture Location:

Hudson Hospital & Clinics

405 Stageline Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Lab Location:

St. Croix Therapy

742 Sterbenz Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Recommended Hotel:

Comfort Suites

2620 Center Drive

Hudson, WI 54016

Ask for the Hudson Hospital Discount ($75.00 including continental breakfast)

Within walking distance of lecture location.

Meet your Instructor

Kiki Dickinson, MPT, PAqI

Kathleen (Kiki) Dickinson, MPT graduated from the College of St. Catherine with a master's degree in physical therapy. Kiki has over 25 years of pediatric and adult physical therapy experience at St. Croix Therapy (Therapeutic Services for Children and Adults) in Hudson, Wisconsin. She has extensive experience developing and implementing aquatic therapy programs for a diverse pediatric population which includes working with children of all ages including the birth-to-three population, as well as the ortho-neuro adult population.

Kiki founded North Star Aquatic Therapy to offer aquatic therapy courses for both the pediatric and adult populations. Kiki teaches custom aquatic therapy classes nationally and internationally with a focus on the neuro pediatric and geriatric population. Kiki has helped develop course manuals for several pediatric courses for Aquatic Therapy University (ATU) and has developed several of her own individual classes that she has presented at national and state APTA conferences. Kiki has a clinical and research interest in childhood obesity and the impact it has on the special needs population. Kiki has played a significant role in developing aquatic coursework for Speech Language Pathologists, including offering one of the first ASHA approved course in aquatics with ATU.

Kiki is certified in Halliwick, Bad Ragaz, Ai Chi and Cranio-sacral Therapy. Kiki has her Aquaticist℠ credentials from ATU. Kiki has been an adjunct professor at St. Catherine’s University for over 20 years and teaches Pediatric Coursework for their Physical Therapy Assistant Program.

Cancellation Policy


Programming Changes: Due to unforeseen circumstances, ATU schedules, instructors and/or meals may need to be changed without notice.

Cancellation of Class By ATU: ATU classes may be cancelled for low registration up to 30 days prior to the class. In this event, a full refund of class tuition or a voucher to another class will be issued to students. ATU does not reimburse change fees, airline tickets or any other travel related expenses, so please do not make plans until you receive the 30-day confirmation prior to the conference.

Cancellation of Class by Student: A refund, minus a $175 reseating fee, will be given for student cancellations made prior to 30 days before the conference. No refunds will be given for cancellations received after 30 day deadline. In the event of a student cancellation after the deadline, enrollment fees may be transferred to other ATU courses within 12 months at no charge.

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