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The effectiveness of aqua therapy for cerebral palsy

Updated: Mar 30

Individuals can develop their physical functionality and wellbeing significantly using aqua therapy which is considered one of the recreational therapy methods. In general, aqua therapy is commonly recommended for rehabilitating patients recovering from trauma. However, hydrotherapy is also recognized as a valuable way for the treatment of cerebral palsy.

Due to the buoyancy of the water in a heated swimming pool, the patient’s effective bodyweight decreases by 90 percent. This creates a soothing environment for cerebral palsy patients.

Therefore, patients suffering from cerebral palsy disorder can become more relaxed to perform movement and exercise freely in water, since water places no stress on their musculoskeletal system.

In general, aqua therapy professionals set a variety of major goals when they start working with cerebral palsy patients. Achieving all these targets results in patients to gain more muscle control, develop their self-confidence, increase their physical functionality, and as well as become more independent.

You can read more about the goals which are set by aqua therapists which results with many physical and mental improvements for cerebral palsy patients:

• Aqua therapy helps to reduce discomfort

Pain in the joints and as well as in muscles can be effectively relieved by the whole-body pressure provided by water. This results patients recover during the therapy sessions which helps them to exercise in the water with feeling less pain. This is especially true when exercising in warm water, since the efficiency of the therapy increases decreasing the pain further which, in turn, allows muscles with high tone to relax. Warm water therapy, therefore, provides a better environment for the movement.

• Injuries are prevented by hydrotherapy

The buoyancy of water reduces the amount of stress placed on joints which provides a safe environment for cerebral palsy patients from injuring themselves during the exercise sessions. With the less chance of causing an injury, the patients can perform both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

• Aquatic therapy results with improved muscle tone and as well as better control

Unlike performing movements in the land, which involves body weight and less resistance, in water, the patient’s weight is significantly decreased. Also, the resistance increases as the patient move through the water. For example, due to the viscosity of water, simply exercising to walk in water puts ten times more resistance than performing the same activity on land.

In result, patients can increase their muscle tone and flexibility in a much easier way and effectively even just doing simple movements in water which would be otherwise hard on land due to the stress placed on their joints.

Patients with low muscles tone can considerably benefit from exercising in the pool. Also, warm water combined with the hydrostatic pressure of water can help patients with high muscle tone by providing an environment where it is easier to make a movement.

• Cardiovascular benefits

Water activities, even without performing any activity at all, increases patient’s cardiovascular fitness and endurance. Because, when your body is submerged the heart starts to pump more blood to balance the increase in pressure.

• Water exercises develop confidence

Like any other disability, cerebral palsy also takes a mental and emotional toll on a patient. Lifelong difficulties like hardships with a range of motion and pain can tear down the patient’s psychological wellness. However, when the patients see improvements in their daily functionality during the water therapy sessions, this brings them a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, helps patients to develop their self-confidence, and as well as emotional health.

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