Is your child burnt out on traditional therapy methods? Do they need a boost to get the the next development level? Are they recovering from surgery and need a buoyant environment to optimize recovery? Do they have wellness goals that are difficult to accomplish because of joint pain?
Research shows that children who participate in aquatic physical therapy in addition to a good home exercise program or land-based physical therapy improve significantly over children in a land-based program only. Research has also shown that aquatic physical therapy is an effective tool to improve strength, balance, cardiovascular endurance, vital capacity, functional mobility, and participation levels for children with disabilities.
There are many properties of the water that make it an ideal environment to perform physical therapy:
Viscosity– is the “thickness” of water. Moving through water creates more resistance than moving through air, therefore strengthening muscles without increasing stress on joints. The viscosity of water also heightens sensory input to the brain by giving information on body position through total skin contact.
Buoyancy– is an upward force acting opposite of the force of gravity. Buoyancy can be used to make activities easier when moving in the direction of buoyancy or harder when moving down against the buoyancy of the water. Buoyancy also reduces the effects of gravity. When standing in chest deep water, an individual’s body weight is reduced by 75-90% depending on the exact depth.
Turbulence– is the flow or current of the water. Turbulence can gently challenge balance or core stability. It is also useful for increasing circulation and sensory input.
Hydrostatic Pressure– is the natural pressure of the water around the body. It can provide natural relief of joint swelling and can increase the strength of respiratory muscles through breathing in chest or neck deep water.
Thermodynamics– is the way heat is transferred through water. The thermodynamics of water can help reduce tone, relax muscles, and decrease pain.