Aquatic therapy has been around since ancient times. The therapeutic benefits of the water are tremendous. While submerged in water we feel effects that mimic weightlessness.
Almost any time you go to the YMCA, you can see a group of older adults doing water aerobics. They have long recognized the benefits to their bodies. I have to credit joining their group after I ruptured my Achilles to being able run today.
However, it is not so often that you see children having therapy in the pool unless you go to the Salisbury YMCA in the mornings. One Step at a Time provides occupational therapy in the pool. One of the little girls that I provide special instruction is able to take advantage of the aquatic therapy.
Occupational therapy is based on purposeful and meaningful activity in which the child actively engages in their treatment without even knowing it. Purposeful and meaningful activity for children is play. Children learn through play and play is used in pediatric treatment sessions.
Water play, therefore, is becoming increasingly popular for sensory integration, developmental co-ordination disorder, attention deficits, hyper active children and many other conditions. This little girl has little to now feeling in her lower extremities. The water gives her a sense of freedom helps build her upper body strength.
There are many benefits of water therapy including:
- Increase core strength
- Improve muscle tone
- Improve flexibility
- Increase endurance
- Increase stability
The above photo is a perfect example of her pushing up with her triceps. The stronger she gets, the easier it will be to transfer from a chair to the floor to play or to transfer to another chair. As a result of her pool therapy, she can now get in and out of her classroom chair without assistance. She is also able to crawl on all four’s now.
These are simple activities that you can do with your child or ask your child’s therapist if they can provide. You can find additional information on our Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/pilcdc/aqua-therapy/.