The Spastics Society of Tamilnadu (SPASTN)

HYDROTHERAPY

Hydrotherapy is a form of intervention in which exercises are taught to the children with disabilities inside the Swimming Pool. The unique qualities of water provide exceptional benefits to the child with cerebral palsy and other motor difficulties. Water helps children with cerebral palsy to move in ways they may not be able to do on land. As we know, Gravity is an all pervading force which acts on each and every body on land. This gravity pulls objects towards the earth. The effect of gravity is also felt by the human body. Activities done against gravity demand more output from the muscles e.g. riding a bicycle uphill or climbing steps. When the muscles are weak, these movements become difficult or even impossible. For a child with Cerebral Palsy, anti-gravity movements such as Sitting upright or standing becomes difficult due to weak muscles.

Exercises in water are different than that done outside water, as the gravitational forces are nullified inside water. Water has a unique property called Buoyancy. This is a force that pushes every object inside it to the surface. We use the properties of water to:-

- relieve the body weight.
- resist a movement, useful for strengthening a muscle.
- assist movement, useful for teaching a movement.
- support.
- give tactile stimulation as water comes in contact with every part of our body.
- play; a children learn a lot of things in the form of play. Water is fun!
-  train standing and walking. The child does this in water without fear of falling or getting hurt..
- best media to teach the child the normal pattern of movement with less body
weight, good tactile and proprioceptive  feedback and good support.

The initial classes are devoted to water safety and orientation in which the child learns how to deal with the water like how to control breath, float and use the forces in water. Activities or exercises are started later that focuses on balance, strength and movement training.

The duration of the session is half an hour.

SPASTN’s Hydrotherapy Programme is based on the principles of Halliwick Concept of Aquatic Therapy. The Halliwick concept was originally designed to teach swimming for children with disabilities. As the practitioners found a lot of physical gains, in due course it became a way of intervention for the child with physical disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina bifida etc.