Hydrotherapy is therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation in water. An aquatic environment can be both calming and fun, whilst providing a supportive medium in which to move joints and muscles and build exercise tolerance and stamina.
Hydrostatic pressures when exercising in a pool have been proven to boost circulation, which in turn can maximise muscle capability and flexibility during exercise, reduce swelling and can help to improve healing. Buoyancy from the water reduces the amount of weight taken through the body which enables those with painful and stiff joints and weak muscles to perform movements and exercises that would otherwise be impossible on land.
Other therapeutic benefits of hydrotherapy include reduction of muscle spasm and spasticity, improved balance and co-ordination, and muscle strengthening. The water can be used to assist and facilitate movement but, by increasing speed and turbulence and adding the use of floats and rings to provide resistance to movement, the difficulty of exercise can be increased.
For those children who have difficulties with walking and holding an upright posture, hydrotherapy can help to support their bodies, which enables them to move and hold themselves in functional positions that they would ordinarily struggle with day-to-day. For individuals with complex injuries and / or neurological conditions where their mobility is significantly impaired, hydrotherapy can be an excellent environment in which to begin rehabilitation, bridging the gap between the time of injury and the commencement of land-based physiotherapy. Hydrotherapy also works well in conjunction with land-based therapy, optimising function by using the different approaches to complement one another. With children, this also helps to offer variety to their rehabilitation, which makes the physiotherapy process more interesting and stimulating.
Hydrotherapy provides a sensory stimulus for children who require sensory integration as part of their rehabilitation process. It can improve a child’s confidence, as they can move in a supported environment without fear of falling, and they are often able to perform activities in the water that they have not previously managed to achieve on land. This is highly beneficial to the emotional and psychological status of a child with physical and sensory difficulties. Parents and carers can also join their child in the water, and become actively involved with their rehabilitation.
For more information about this type of rehabilitation, or the locations where we can provide hydrotherapy treatment, please feel free to contact one of the Yorkshire Children’s Physiotherapy team.
To arrange an appointment or to speak to one of our team, please contact our Clinical Director Sarah Joice on 07908 684441. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org