Water is on of the best places for children to play. Little ones love to splash around in the swimming pool. Children with preventable birth injuries like cerebral palsy and Erb's palsy, a result of brachial plexus injuries, will find the environment a comfortable place to receive physical, speech, and occupational therapy. Hydrotherapy provides specific benefits to the cerebral palsy patient that can be translated into improvements in other areas of life.
Some of the unique benefits to aquatic therapy include the following:
- Buoyancy- As patients float around in water the buoyancy helps relieve stress off of joints and muscles. Support is given to weaker bodies, and exercise is possible in a way regular therapy sessions cannot replicate.
- Pressure- The watery environment exerts beneficial pressure and improves circulation. Swelling is reduced making joints less sore and more therapeutic exercise possible.
- Gentle resistance- Aids cerebral palsy sufferers in developing sensory awareness. The resistance strengthens muscles that are not normally used under normal circumstances.
Range of motion is improved if the therapy takes place in a heated pool, where muscles and joints can relax. Muscle tone is improved, as well as strength and endurance. Balance and coordination improve as well. Posture and body control improve as children are placed in a supportive environment that allows for the trunk and abdominal muscles to receive support and beneficial exercise.
Cardiovascular systems that are not otherwise given the chance to develop endurance, are able to develop in an aquatic environment. Greater toning and conditioning keeps children with cerebral palsy and other birth injuries engaged much longer than traditional exercise settings allow.
Playing in the water, even in a therapeutic session, also gives children with disabilities from birth injuries the chance to be just like other kids. With the help of parents and therapists, the children are able to leave behind walkers, wheelchairs and other necessary apparatuses that serve as a constant reminder of the limitations placed on their bodies. Children as young as infants can begin hydrotherapy. The result after a session in the water is often a relaxed child with a little less stress. Water provides a chance for these children to kick, jump, and play like children without birth injuries do.
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