Pediatric Aquatic Therapy Services

Aquatic therapy is a fun and engaging type of therapy that uses the properties of water to achieve therapeutic gains that may be too difficult for a child to attain through land based therapy. Therapeutic gains of aquatic therapy include but are not limited to normalization of muscle tone, improvements in strength, balance, range of motion, cardiovascular endurance and circulation. Aquatic therapy can also be beneficial for self-regulation and sensory processing.

Who can benefit from aquatic therapy?

A number of different patient populations can benefit from aquatic therapy.  Some of the commonly treated populations at Cheshire Fitness Zone include:

  • neurological impairments
  • orthopedic injuries
  • neuromuscular disorders
  • cardiopulmonary disorders
  • chronic pain
  • sensory processing disorders

How can aquatic therapy help my child?

In order to understand how aquatic therapy may help your child, it is important to have a general understanding about the effects of the properties of water on the body.  Select a tab below to learn more.

Buoyancy can be defined as the upward force exerted by water. This assists in decreasing the amount of weight bearing through joints when submerged in the water.  As a result, buoyancy is helps to improve balance and core stability by limiting the fear of falling while still encouraging the individual to work against the force of the water to maintain an upright position.  Buoyancy can also be helpful to assist with floatation activities that are used for relaxation in order to decrease muscle tone and improve joint range of motion.

Viscosity is described as the way that water molecules stick together as one tries to move through them. This creates a natural resistance of the water, which helps to strengthen muscles of the core and limbs.  Increased resistance also helps to improve cardiovascular endurance by increasing the physical demands on the body as it moves through the water.  Speed of movements in the water can be graded in order to achieve the desired result; as speed of movement increases, the resistance provided by water also increases and consequently, as the speed of movement decreases, the resistance provided by water decreases.

Hydrostatic pressure is defined as the force exerted by the water on a submerged body. This property of water helps to “squeeze” the individual in the water and as a result, allows that individual to tune out outside stimuli and feel more secure.  This is particularly beneficial for children with sensory processing disorders or vestibular issues.  Hydrostatic pressure is also helpful with improving circulation as it provides an external force on the body as the individual moves through the water.

The warmer water temperature in the aquatic therapy environment is beneficial for relaxation of muscle tone and limiting involuntary or spastic movements that may otherwise impede therapeutic gains in a land based setting.  Warmer water temperature also helps to improve circulation through blood vessel dilation.

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