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The Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP) are a physiotherapy organisation that has been recognised by the CSP. 

We are a self-governing body that are responsible for our own financial and organisational liabilities.  We openly welcome all Chartered Physiotherapists, Physiotherapy Assistants and Students working within or specialising in Aquatic Therapy practice.

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Originally the Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (HACP) was founded by Alison Skinner, Yvonne Rogers, Margaret Campion, Helen Whitelock and others in 1984. The initial remit was to provide specialist support to Physiotherapists working in Hydrotherapy.  “To promote Hydrotherapy as a treatment modality, and to ensure that Physiotherapists have sufficient skills and knowledge to utilise hydrotherapy safely and effectively”

Since then, twice yearly study days, a biannual journal "Aqualines" and further publications have come from this committed group.

In 2008 the name was changed to The Aquatic Therapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (ATACP), and clarification was made that Aquatic Therapy is a form of water based therapy that is carried out only by suitably qualified physiotherapists. Non-specialist physiotherapists may still carry out 'hydrotherapy'. But the ATACP notes that the term ‘hydrotherapy’ is also used for the very different practices of colonic irrigation and spa bathing.  'Hydrotherapy' may also be carried out by carers or teaching assistants in homes or special schools, who may not have the underpinning knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

In order to ensure this specialist knowledge an accredited Foundation and Assessment process was developed.  As Universities and Tertiary Education Establishments dropped Hydrotherapy/Aquatic Physiotherapy training from their undergraduate curriculum the group realised that the ATACP Foundation was providing the only gold standard for teaching the level of knowledge required for those treating patients in aquatic therapy pools.

The committee were integral in setting up a standardised data collection project which ran nationally in collaboration with Brighton University and a number of NHS Trusts.

In November 2014 the committee celebrated their 25 year anniversary by organising a 2 day international conference at Headley Court Military Rehabilitation Centre.

There is hope for more international courses and study days over the next 25 years of making WATER WORK!


  • To collect and share knowledge about hydrotherapy / aquatic therapy
  • To set Standards of Practice for physiotherapists working in hydrotherapy/ aquatic therapy
  • To educate members through study days, publications, e-mails and iCSP
  • To bring together people who have a common interest in hydrotherapy/ aquatic therapy
  • To promote hydrotherapy/ aquatic therapy within the profession, to other professionals and to the public

Mission Statement:

The ATACP is a Professional Network of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

We are a highly experienced, skilled and motivated group specialising in water based rehabilitation. The group promotes water based therapy through, education, clinical skills, research, publications, study days and membership support.  We aim to:

  • Promote aquatic based research
  • Promote an aquatic bias when networking with students, consultants, the public and other interested parties (WCPT/ international links/Ai Chi/Sports/animals)
  • Be proactive in publications including the ATACP journal Aqualines

Aquatic Physiotherapy definition:

A physiotherapy programme utilising the properties of water, designed by a suitably qualified Physiotherapist. The programme should be specific for an individual to maximise function, which can be physical, physiological, or psychological. Treatments should be carried out by appropriately trained personnel, ideally in a purpose built, and suitably heated Aquatic Physiotherapy Pool”          

(ATACP 2014)

LONG TERM AIM (5 years) 2010

  • Increase capacity in highly skilled and motivated aquatic Physiotherapists - Ongoing
  • Provide gold standard training in Aquatic Therapy through the accredited foundation process - Ongoing
  • Complete x1 cycle of Foundation course and Assessment with evaluation - Completed
  • To have re-run the teachers course and trained new approved educators - Completed
  • To have established a database of current research activity in aquatic therapy
  • To have completed a chapter for Physiotherapy textbook by end 2010 - Completed

Find out more

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ATACP committee

Meet the committee and find out more about us

Aqualines (ATACP members only)

View journal issues online.


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