Bariatric Services

Good Shepherd's Health & Technology Center offers physical therapy specifically designed to meet the rehabilitation and exercise needs of overweight and obese patients. The program’s warm water pool provides a safe environment that reduces patient discomfort and the risk of injury. This is particularly beneficial for patients who are weakened due to lack of exercise. A doctorate-level physical therapist designs a workout plan tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient.

Most insurance plans cover rehabilitation services for obese people with medical needs. Examples of conditions that typically qualify a patient for coverage are:

  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Many other musculoskeletal diagnoses. 

Once the patient is independent and no longer needs physical therapy, the patient may choose to participate in one of our self-pay aquatic exercise programs or our fitness center

Beyond the pool, Good Shepherd’s musculoskeletal physical therapy department offers rehabilitation services on land for the obese patient. Bariatric-rated equipment enables larger patients to perform endurance and strengthening exercises. Good Shepherd’s aquatic and land therapy programs offer a safe and supervised way to start increasing fitness. 

The Pool’s Features:

  • 30-by-40 feet with varying depths of three to six feet
  • 92 - 94 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a warm water pool
  • Underwater equipment includes treadmills and bikes
  • Parallel bars that allow patients to stand in place for balance and support
  • 500-lb. chair lift to assist non-ambulatory patients’ entry into and exit from the water
  • Locker facilities include shower seats that can safely accommodate up to 500 lbs.
  • Oriented primarily toward standing, the program does not require swimming proficiency
  • The aquatic environment enables safe exercise as the water reduces joint stress.
  • Exercise occurs in a non-threatening environment as patients work alongside others with similar life conditions.
  • If preferred, patients may wear shorts and t-shirts in the pool.
  • Patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, incontinence, have had recent seizures or are over 500 pounds and non-ambulatory are not candidates for pool therapy.

The Physical Therapy Gym Features:

  • Bariatric rated Treadmill, AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill, Kinetron, Total Gym and other exercise equipment
  • Mat tables rated up to 900 pounds

At discharge from physical therapy, patients will understand how to progress their exercise program and be able to safely exercise independently. Therapists will recommend that patients continue to work out through Good Shepherd’s self-pay programs available for both the pool and the Fitness Center.

Optimal Fitness – Aquatic Exercise Programs:

  • Available as a monthly membership, individual session or group class
  • Recreational therapists supervise the client’s activities in the pool and also are available to suggest ways to pursue self-exercise programs. Recreational therapists offer both private and group sessions.

Optimal Fitness Gym:

  • The Optimal Fitness Center at Good Shepherd offers monthly memberships. Our exercise physiologist is available to meet with the new member and design a safe exercise program. Supervised hours are provided Monday through Friday for any members that require monitoring or light assistance. 
  • The Fitness Center offers a variety of exercise machines for the member’s use. Exercise machines are wheelchair accessible and available for members of all abilities.  During specified hours, equipment that is rated “bariatric” is shared with the physical therapy department including the treadmill, Kinetron, Total Gym and others.


Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center
Lower Level – Orthopedic Department
850 S. 5th Street
Allentown, PA  18103


Land Therapy and Fitness Center
7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Monday – Thursday
7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Friday
8 am to Noon: Saturday

Pool Therapy
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Monday – Friday

Additional hours available by request.

Personal training sessions are available by appointment

For more information, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.