Hydrotherapy involves stimulation and gentle exercise in warm water at a constant temperature of 33 degrees Celsius. Our Hydrotherapy pool is purpose-built with a constant or very gradual water depth of around 1 metre. The pool area incorporates multi-sensory equipment such as lighting and sound to stimulate the senses.
Hydrotherapy offers tangible benefits to the health and wellbeing of children and young people with a range of disabilities and health conditions:
- The warmth of the water has an effect on the individual neuro-muscular junctions which results in decreased muscle tone and decreased spasticity.
- Lung Function - 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.
- Visual Stimulation – developing the capacity to see and react through sensory lights under, above and through the water as well as brightly coloured toys and objects used in play and games
- Hearing Stimulation – learning to listen and react to sounds by using; the voice – talking, reciting and singing; the water – splashing, slapping, bubbling; music – using various types CD's
- Tactile Stimulation – Tactile stimulation is achieved by experiencing the feeling of a variety of objects and environments through use of; the water – sprinkled and poured through water cans, splashed, swirled, bubbled; objects that maybe hard, soft, spongy, prickly, smooth; vibration to identify position or as a signal. Temperature awareness, identifying changes in humidity, water temperature
- Smell Stimulation – learning to identify and increase the enjoyment of a variety of smells; stimulation of everyday smells (swimming pool); identify people through smells.
- Vestibular – the movement in the water stimulates the vestibular system, especially the jumping up and down, the swaying from side to side and moving round in circles in a variety of games. Movements that are difficult to facilitate to a child using a wheelchair on land.
- Proprioceptive –The resistance and movement through the water actively stimulates the proprioceptive system through input from muscles, joints and tendons.
- Psychological well-being – it's fun! Hydrotherapy in practice involves an ever present element of recreation. This is one of its key advantages over land based treatments. To get out of the wheelchair and change your body position and find freedom of movement and independence brings about physical and psychological well -being which cannot be achieved elsewhere or by any other treatment. The ability to be independent in water, to achieve skills that may be difficult or impossible on land, has favourable and lasting psychological effects which boost confidence and morale, and these can be carried over into life on land.
- Improved mobility – The support of the water and the reduced fear of falling can aid mobility practice, by improving balance, coordination and posture. Exercises against the resistance of the water can improve and maintain range of movement and increase physical fitness. 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. The heat and calming environment of the pool contribute to reduce muscle spasms and joint pains.
- Relaxation – enables students to completely relax in the heated water and sensory environment with the confidence of experienced staff without fear
- Communication - Research shows that being in the water promotes vocalisation in some students The pool is a perfect place to work on breathing techniques, most importantly blowing and humming to manage the water, encouraging oral skills. Songs, music, themes and games all encourage social interaction between staff and pupils.
Students are offered hydrotherapy via our internal referral process which is supported by qualified physiotherapists.