Hydrotherapy is one of the methods of treatment used in different rehabilitation centers in order to improve the motor skills of a person with different orthopedic and neurological problems. The weightlessness you feel when under water relieves tension in the limbs, supports aching muscles and therefore easing the movement compared to when on land. The hydrotherapy treatment is used because of its special characteristics such as:
- Floating on the water: The child feels light without loading weight on the ground and reduce pressure on the joints, which facilitates the movement and performance of his exercises.
- The hydro-static pressure of the water decreases swallowing because it increases blood circulation, and it increases blood returning to the heart.
- In the pool there is resistance from the water which in return increases endurance and increases muscle power.
The water is used for treatment purposes in physical disability in general and neurological cases like cerebral palsy in specific in addition to cases like autism, down syndrome and motor retardation. Hydrotherapy can be a gentle but highly effective form of treatment for cerebral palsy (CP). Hydrotherapy (also known as aquatic therapy, aqua therapy or water therapy) can help children with cerebral palsy go through a series of movements that can gently stretch the rigid muscles associated with the condition.
For a toddler with CP, the outcome of hydrotherapy may be to increase range of motion to prepare for sitting up or walking later on. For an older child, hydrotherapy may focus on strengthening muscles in a lower gravity environment.
Benefits of hydrotherapy:
- Relax and soften muscles in a way that other cerebral palsy treatments cannot.
- It is also useful for respiratory function and motor skills.
- It improves muscle tone and strength while increasing circulation, endurance flexibility, range of motion, balance and coordination.
- The buoyancy of the water relieves pressure on the muscles and joints, while the gentle resistance helps to build or improve muscle tone.
- hydrotherapy can increase the bond between the therapist and the child which affects positively other rehabilitation programs outside the water.
Hydrotherapy is an excellent treatment for anyone living with cerebral palsy, especially children. This is because hydrotherapy, especially if started early enough in the child’s life, can reduce the discomfort and deformities often associated with cerebral palsy leading to a more active, healthy and independent life.
It is preferable to have one hydrotherapy session concurrently with physiotherapy sessions to get the best results. The session is 30 minutes.