The use of hydrotherapy for treating children is not unusual. It is often called in for orthopaedic concerns, but may also be involved in treatment for neurological problems. Children who have undergone surgery also benefit from hydrotherapy during the recovery.
Hydrotherapy can improve the quality of life for children, as well as enhance some motor or cognitive functions.
The use of hydrotherapy in children with paediatric conditions is known. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and down’s syndrome. It is also found to help with muscular dystrophy. Individual patients with autism and dyspraxia have also shown improvement using hydrotherapy.
When dealing with children, hydrotherapy has specific objectives. These do not differ from land-based treatment strategies and may be used in conjunction with them to ensure proper recovery.
A reduction in pain is a major goal, alongside promoting healthy physical development. Hydrotherapy usually sets physical milestones that are reached in sequence. This builds up a sense of confidence that the child carries with them outside the water.
Hydrotherapy can also be used to normalise muscle tone and increase physical function. The stiffness of the joints is corrected, and the ability to bear weight is improved.
The goals are helped by how comfortable most children are in the water. The buoyancy and the sensation of being in water are relaxing for most children, which makes achieving the physical goals of the therapy much easier.
Many children also find it fun compared to land-based rehabilitation. This makes it easier to encourage children to move and follow along with the exercises. It makes therapy feel more like play, so they are more engaged and enthusiastic.
With regulated water temperatures, children are also less likely to feel pain when engaging in physical therapy. In conjunction with the buoyancy effect, this eases any physical stress that might be there in a land-based rehabilitation program.