Therapy Blog: Hydrotherapy

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You will most likely have heard of hydrotherapy but what exactly is it and how does it work to support children, teens and young adults with a physical disability?

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a widely known form of rehabilitation that involves the use of water to support both children and adults:

  • after an injury
  • to help recover from surgery
  • with chronic pain
  • with neurological conditions

Hydrotherapy requires the individual to undertake different exercises in water with a physiotherapist who has specialist training in hydrotherapy.

How does it work?

The main principles of hydrotherapy are:

  • Bouyancy & Weightlessness: taking pressure and weight off the body in the water gives a chance for freedom, especially for those with a disability who may be supported in equipment for many hours of the day. It also allows for relieved pressure on joints and muscles.
  • Hydrostatic pressure & Compression: Supports joints and muscles giving greater information to the person about where their arms and legs are positioned to make movement easier.
  • Resistance: pressure is used during activities to make them easier or harder.
  • Heat: warm water relaxes tight and spasming muscles, provides pain relief, reduces tone and spasticity and calms down neural reflexes.

Supporting Xavier kids

For the children and young adults that we support, hydrotherapy has so many benefits. Children may spend hours in equipment – wheelchairs, standing frames, postural chairs, walkers and more. Hydrotherapy provides them with freedom from all of this. Floating with supports they can move their arms and legs freely and explore themselves and the environment however they want to. Our kids have so much freedom and fun in the pool.

During hydro sessions, we support our children to work on developing new skills in a setting with less weight to carry and more feedback from their body. This allows them to learn new skills or practise and improve those they haven’t been able to use for years.

Children can use this to increase their skills such as standing independently and walking in a safe 1:1 setting that can then transfer across to other environments outside of the water. It also gives an opportunity for children to learn water safety and be equals with their peers and/or siblings, enjoying an activity they can do together.

The benefits are endless. Speak to our Physio team about how hydro can support your child and then jump on in and give it a try!