Hydrotherapy (or Aqua Therapy as it is sometimes called) is an amazing type of water therapy that can considerably enhance the lives of children experiencing Hydranencephaly and/or Cerebral Palsy as well as many other similar conditions. In fact, Hydrotherapy for Cerebral Palsy is one of the most popular therapies that is recommended by many doctors and physiotherapists alike. It not only helps physically but is a very enjoyable experience. Natan Shai has Hydranencephaly and also Cerebral Palsy, I can safely say that Hydrotherapy is his very favourite weekly therapy click here for more.
What Is Hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy or Aqua Therapy is the use of water and water resistance to rehabilitate or re-educate the body and improve its functionality physically. It is a healing therapy which takes place in a (usually) heated pool. Natan Shai’s pool has the added feature of low lighting, soft music and a log fire in the winter 🙂 Thus making it a very relaxing type of therapy. It is done by a one on one therapist who has been trained in a similar way to a physiotherapist.
The way the body moves and its weight are impacted by gravity. Water reduces the body weight by a phenomenal 90%!! Thus allowing the body to ambulate freely without putting stress on the musculoskeletal system. This is exactly what sets Hydrotherapy apart from traditional physical therapy. Also, the warm water has a massage effect on ligaments, joints and muscles that are in pain from the outcome of Cerebral Palsy and other conditions.
How Can My Child Benefit From Hydrotherapy?
If your child sits in a wheelchair for most of the day or has Cerebral Palsy like Natan Shai then he or she can most definitely benefit from Hydrotherapy. It is by no means a substitute for Physiotherapy but it is an enhancement.
Some of the benefits include:
- Improved muscle tone
- Increased strength
- Pain reduction
- Cardiovascular conditioning
- Enhanced circulation
- Increased flexibility
- Improved endurance
- Improved muscle spasticity
- Increased metabolism
- Help with sleep disturbances
- Relief of joint stress
- Improved muscle tone
- Increased stability
Are There Any Dangers Or Risks Involved In Hydrotherapy?
If your child is under the supervision of a certified, trained hydrotherapist then Aqua Therapy is considered to be a safe and beneficial therapy for conditions such as Cerebral Palsy and Hydranencephaly. However, just like any other new treatment you obviously need to talk it over with your doctor first and decide together if Hydrotherapy can help your child.
The only real danger could be from the water itself if the therapist is not paying attention to your child. Therefore I recommend always being there and keeping an eye on what is going on. You don’t have to physically get into the pool. It’s enough to watch from the sidelines. If you’re not happy with your therapist then it is your right to ask for a different one.
Where Is Hydrotherapy Given?
Hydrotherapy can be given in any pool either private or public, outdoors or indoors, according to the climate. Usually, however as it is a therapy it is given in a rehabilitative environment and in a pool which is designed specifically for this purpose.
I hope you found this post interesting, the pictures included are all of Natan Shai during his Hydrotherapy sessions. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me. I’d love to hear about your own experiences with Hydrotherapy in the comments below.
With much love,
Hannah (Natan Shai’s Mom)