What is hydrotherapy?
Aquatic therapy, commonly known as hydrotherapy, is the use of exercise therapy within a specially designed heated pool to target and treat a wide spectrum of conditions. The unique properties of water, including the decreased effects of gravity, the effects of buoyancy, hydrostatic pressure are used by the physiotherapist along with their diagnostic skills, exercise knowledge and other treatment techniques to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of clients with a wide range of conditions and provide a unique environment to maintain health, well-being and fitness.
The pool is heated between 31-35 degrees.
Conditions we treat
- Acquired and traumatic brain injury
- Cerebral Palsy
- Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR)
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Sensory Processing disorders
- Juvenile Arthritis
- Pre and post-surgical
In certain circumstances, hydrotherapy is not recommended.
- Inflammation – acute injuries where redness and heat are still present are not recommended for hydrotherapy treatment.
- Fever – whole body warming is not recommended if a temperature is present.
- Heart Disease and Hypertension – increased blood flow may place stress on the heart.
- Vascular conditions – increased circulation is not advised.
- Kidney problems.
What are benefits of hydrotherapy?
Minimises Aches and Pains
The warmth of the water relaxes muscular spasm which is commonly found in close proximity to the area of pain. Vasodilation, which is the widening of blood vessels, also helps in increasing circulation in the area of discomfort which ultimately helps in accelerating the healing process.
Hydrotherapy can help strengthen weak musculature. Different exercises can be undertaken in water and the type of exercise prescribed will vary according to the condition or injury being treated. Resistance provided by the water itself helps to strengthen weak musculature. Exercises can be progressed by increasing the speed of movement or by increasing surface area by introducing various special forms of floats.
The increased temperature of the water helps in relaxing tight musculature with the resulting increase in range of movement of any particular joint. This will help the user to feel more mobile and flexible.
Improves General Fitness
Physical fitness can be described as a measure of the body’s ability to function in an efficient and effective manner during daily activities without undue fatigue. This can be achieved through appropriate nutrition, sufficient moderate to high intensity exercise and adequate amounts of rest. Exercising within a hydrotherapy pool can help in achieving the goal of being physically fit in a safe, professional and enjoyable environment.
Minimal Impact on Joints
A hydrotherapy pool provides the opportunity to exercise without your bones and muscles being shackled by gravity’s constraints. Therefore, hydrotherapy conveniently provides a gateway to exercise in certain conditions were constant ground impact is too painful or not indicated.
For individuals with Profound and Multiple Disabilities
For those that have PMLD being in water can help with their sensory needs and provide them with time where they are not fixed in any one position. The water allows freedom on movement in a relaxing environment.
Feel Good factor
Exercising in warm water helps the body to release several hormones that contribute towards feeling energised and less fatigued. Research is also showing that exercising in warm water may also aid in alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression.
How water helps
Buoyancy: This enables the person in the pool to carry out exercises which are usually very difficult to carry out on land given that the body feels much lighter in water. This helps to assist and improve quality of movement of stiff or weak joints. This is also extremely useful when normal walking or weight-bearing is restricted or painful by a neurological or orthopaedic condition.
Turbulence: Currents and eddies in the water contribute towards providing an unstable environment which in itself helps towards strengthening stabiliser muscles of the body. Turbulence can also provide resistance to movement which helps in strengthening weak musculature and helps to improve balance and co-ordination which may be impaired after injury or illness.
Hydrostatic Pressure: whereby the water itself exerts external pressure on the limb in question and helps in draining any swelling which might be present. This is how hydrostatic pressure is thought to further help in rehabilitation, particularly after recent injury or surgery.
Improves Balance with consequent decrease in risk of falls: Water is a moving body. This makes it a very useful tool to challenge and retrain balance, with the ultimate benefit of reducing the risk of falls.
Before your initial visit you will be sent out a form to fill in requesting some general questions about your health and physical capabilities. When you arrive for your assessment the Physiotherapist will conduct a risk assessment which will include how you enter and exit the pool.
Once you are in the pool the Physiotherapist will use their diagnostic skills and clinical planning to assess you. From this the Physiotherapist will formulate a unique treatment plan for you.
You will be provided with a tailor-made programme of water-based exercises to help your specific condition.
Treatment may involve hands on techniques and assisted exercise or may be based around exercise and functional activity. Our aim would be that any skills learnt in the pool could be transferred into everyday life.
For some clients you maybe required to complete a land-based assessment prior to your hydrotherapy assessment. This will allow the Physiotherapist to fully assess your needs.
We provide ongoing 1:1 hydrotherapy sessions, classes for children and parents or we can create an exercise programme for the client to carry out independently or with a carer.
1:1 Hydrotherapy session with a Physiotherapist for 30 minutes: £35 (Shared pool)
Private pool hire : £50
Splash group will be charged termly
For further information about Heel and Toe Hydrotherapy Centre please call 0191 3868606.