Benefits of Hydrotherapy
Hydrotherapy offers tangible benefits to the health and wellbeing of children with a range of disabilities and health conditions:
- Decreased swelling, improved circulation and reduced pain
- Reduced muscle spasm, allowing relaxation
- Improved water confidence, and
- Improved fitness.
- The warmth of the water has an effect on the individual neuro-muscular junctions which results in decreased muscle tone and decreased spasticity. Buoyancy of the water is used to assist movement of joints – which is either more difficult or painful on dry land.
- Movement in the water and water pressure helps to reduce residual lung capacity for children and young people with chest problems. This enables more efficient lung function and reduces the risk of chest infections developing.
- Creating turbulence around an extremity (i.e. arm or leg) can increase their awareness of the limb and help with mobility – both in the water and later on dry land.
- Multi-sensory environment helps stimulate the senses whilst calming children with sensory and learning difficulties.
All children who are using the hydrotherapy pool have benefitted:
- Children who are normally in their seated in their wheelchair for a lot of the day can experience freedom of movement in the pool.
- Others who don’t move much on dry land become active and really enjoy moving round the pool.
- Children who have very limited movement and struggle to communicate when on dry land are able to vocalise or move their arms to indicate preferences whilst in the water.
- Passive physiotherapy programs can be difficult to tolerate on dry land but in the water the young people with tight muscles and joints are much happier when their muscle stretches are incorporated into a fun or relaxing time in the pool.
It can aid sensory processing disorders:
- Many people on the autistic spectrum also suffer from sensory processing disorders.
- What this means is that children with autism can often struggle with a sensory overload, when one or more of the body’s senses experience over-stimulation from the environment.
- The sensation of water on the body can help to reduce stress caused by sensory processing disorders, calming and soothing children with autism.
Hydrotherapy can improve social behaviours:
- Many children who are on the autistic spectrum struggle to socialise, finding it difficult to connect and communicate with other people. Because hydrotherapy means working with another person – the teacher and assistant- as well as other children, it can help to improve social behaviours in autistic children. It can offer children on the autistic spectrum a structured approach to forming bonds with others, and learning social skills, while in a relaxed state.