What is Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic Therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is a specialised form of physical therapy that takes place in a warm water pool. It utilises the unique properties of water to provide a therapeutic environment for individuals with neurological conditions and complex physical disabilities, including children aged 0-18.
Uses of Aquatic Therapy in Paediatric Neurological Rehabilitation
1. Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief:
The buoyancy of water reduces the impact of gravity, allowing children with physical disabilities to experience muscle relaxation and relief from pain, facilitating more comfortable movements.
2. Improving Range of Motion:
Aquatic Therapy provides a supportive environment for children to move their limbs through a full range of motion. The water’s resistance helps enhance flexibility and joint mobility.
3. Strengthening Muscles:
Water resistance serves as a gentle but effective way to strengthen muscles. Aquatic exercises target specific muscle groups, aiding in building strength and endurance without putting excessive strain on joints.
4. Balance and Coordination:
The water’s buoyancy provides a stable environment, making it an ideal setting for improving balance and coordination in children with neurological conditions. Therapists can implement various exercises to enhance these skills.
5. Sensory Stimulation:
The tactile, proprioceptive, and vestibular feedback from water can be particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing difficulties. Aquatic Therapy provides a unique sensory experience that can positively impact a child’s overall sensory integration.
6. Cardiovascular Conditioning:
Aquatic activities that involve swimming or water-based exercises contribute to cardiovascular conditioning, promoting cardiovascular health and endurance in a safe and enjoyable manner.
7. Reducing Spasticity:
Warm water has a relaxing effect on muscles, making it an effective tool in reducing spasticity and promoting more fluid movements in children with conditions like cerebral palsy.
Benefits of Aquatic Therapy in Paediatric Neurological Rehabilitation
1. Low-Impact Exercise:
Aquatic Therapy provides a low-impact environment, reducing stress on joints and minimizing the risk of injury during rehabilitation exercises.
2. Increased Motivation:
The enjoyable nature of water-based activities often increases a child’s motivation to participate in therapy. This positive reinforcement can contribute to better engagement and progress.
3. Individualised Treatment:
Aquatic Therapy allows therapists to create highly individualised treatment plans tailored to each child’s specific needs, adjusting the water depth, temperature, and exercises accordingly.
4. Enhanced Circulation:
The water’s hydrostatic pressure promotes improved blood circulation, which can be beneficial for reducing swelling and promoting healing in injured or affected areas.
5. Safe Environment:
The buoyancy of water provides a safe environment, minimizing the risk of falls and injuries, which is especially crucial for children with neurological conditions who may have balance and coordination challenges.
Pool facilities at Neuro Alliance
The hydrotherapy pool at Neuro Alliance is state of the art. The depth ranges from 1.1 meters to 1.5 meters. The pool is tested regularly and the water quality is maintained within strict parameters for comfort and safety. The pool water is cleaned by two large filters and is sanitised with chlorine and ozone.
The water temperature is kept at 33 degrees Celsius and the air temperature and humidity is controlled with an air conditioning system.
There are two large change rooms with showers and four change cubicles. These are for quick rinsing and changing after sessions. A commode and bed bath are also available for clients to use for showering and changing.
The pool is accessed using a pool hoist or a set of stairs with two rails. The hoist can be used with one of Neuro Alliance’s submersible ‘water chairs’ or with a material sling. Neuro Alliance has a range of sling sizes available for trial. If you require a sling for ongoing use your therapist will assist you to purchase your own sling with loops that will connect to our hoist.