HYDRO & AQUATIC THERAPY
At Soaring Health, the twin disciplines of hydrotherapy and individual and group aquatic occupational therapy are offered to child and adolescent clients with a range of limitations, from musculoskeletal conditions to sensory processing and tolerance deficits. Aquatic occupational therapy shares some merits with hydrotherapy provided as part of physiotherapy treatment. However, the two disciplines have distinct benefits. While hydrotherapy focuses on movement and function, enhancing areas such as body control and balance, aquatic occupational therapy focuses primarily on encouraging socially-acceptable behaviours using activities that promote successful teamwork and interaction.
Used by Soaring Health physiotherapists to complement hands-on techniques and land-based exercises, hydrotherapy harnesses the buoyancy of water to support muscles and joints through specific movements without the gravitational weight loading of land-based exercise, which can overburden and even re-injure weakened joints and muscles.
It can both promote faster healing from injury and provide immediate relief for those with chronic conditions by reducing pain and swelling, which may in turn enable greater function and freedom of movement.
AQUATIC OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
Suitable for children of all ages, from toddlers to adolescents, aquatic occupational therapy is an integrative methodology that simultaneously promotes motor development, sensory processing and social, play and communication skills. Conducted individually or in a small group, it harnesses the unique environment of the pool to provide an enjoyable, safe, holistic learning and development experience. Tailored to each participant’s needs, aquatic occupational therapy may greatly benefit children with physical and intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, developmental delays, communication and language disorders, interpersonal and social difficulties, sensory processing deficits and diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder.
How aquatic OT helps
For children with restricted or limited play, pool-based games provide a natural opportunity to develop diverse play skills while improving communication skills. Children with diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder or conditions that impair social interaction can benefit greatly from the interactive nature of aquatic occupational therapy, which instills competence and confidence in appropriate interpersonal communication.
The calming nature of water has also proven effective for helping children with behavioural challenges to self-regulate emotions and behaviour. The soothing, tactile properties of water may also assist children with touch aversion to tolerate and process the sensory aspects of touch – which is itself healing – in a non-threatening context.
Who can benefit from hydrotherapy?
- Physiotherapy and chiropractic clients seeking to complement healing promoted by hands-on physiotherapy
- Those unable to perform land-based, weight-bearing exercise due to joint pain or dysfunction
- Sufferers of chronic pain conditions and associated discomfort
- Rehabilitation candidates
Who can benefit from aquatic occupational therapy?
- Children and adolescents children with physical and intellectual disabilities
- Children and adolescents with brain injuries
- Children and adolescents with developmental delays
- Children and adolescents with communication and language disorders
- Children and adolescents with interpersonal and social difficulties
- Children and adolescents with sensory processing deficits
- Children and adolescents with diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder
Issues that may be treated or managed with hydrotherapy
- Muscular tension and muscle spasm
- Pain due to injury
- Pain due to chronic conditions such as arthritis
- Stiffness and weakness after muscle or joint surgery (e.g. reconstruction or replacement)
- Muscle weakness and/or movement limitations after illness or prolonged break from resistance exercise
- Balance and stability issues
Issues that may be treated or managed with aquatic occupational therapy
- Physical and intellectual disabilities
- Brain injuries
- Developmental delays
- Communication and language disorders and difficulties
- Difficulties with play and/or social interaction
- Sensory processing deficits
- Diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder