Hydrotherapy for children. What’s it all about?
Hydrotherapy is a form of physiotherapy that uses the body’s natural buoyancy, warmth and the water’s resistance to bring about therapeutic effects.
In children with rheumatologic conditions, hydrotherapy can alleviate symptoms associated with juvenile arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis and other inflammatory conditions.
Debra Grech, Physiotherapist, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, says:
It’s a great way to provide a fun and engaging environment for your child to achieve their therapy goals. Better still, your child doesn’t need to be able to swim to participate in hydrotherapy.
Sessions can be either one on one or conducted in a group setting.
Hydrotherapy enables children to move in ways they can only experience in the water. Play and games using small floating toys can be used to engage your child and encourage reach and grasp.
Flotation devices such as kickboards and noodles are used to provide support for your child to help them to move freely in the water. Ball games are used to encourage functional shoulder and lower limb movements. The range of exercises can be made easier or harder depending on the depth of the water and the speed of the movement.
Parents are encouraged to get involved in the hydrotherapy sessions and will often be in the water with the physiotherapist.
Most families are able to carry out their hydrotherapy program locally, and swimming as a family activity is encouraged.
For more information about hydrotherapy services please contact your local physiotherapist.