Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital's Aquatic Therapy program aims to help improve children’s strength, balance, range of motion and overall fitness. Any child for whom these specific goals are reasonable and achievable is appropriate to enter this program.
Classes will be provided in a small group session (max. 5 children) with individual exercise programs developed and supervised by a physiotherapist and one-on-one support provided by trained volunteers.
No physician referral is required. Families can self-refer for Aquatic Therapy program.
Benefits of aquatic therapy include
- Increase in joint flexibility. Buoyancy offers a tremendous advantage because it reduces the effects of gravity allowing for increased joint range of motion. The warm water also helps to relax muscles that are sore or tight.
- Increase in muscle strength. Water is 600-700 times more resistive than air which allows for strengthening of weakened muscles. Water resists rapid movement so equipment with increased surface area is used to increase strength.
- Decrease in pain. Immersion in warm water increases an individual’s comfort, by increasing blood supply to sore muscles and promoting relaxation. Weight relief to weakened body structures also creates additional comfort.
- Decrease in tone, spasticity, and rigidity. Water temperatures above 92 degrees in conjunction with hands on techniques are effective in creating neutral warmth that reduces increased tone.
- Improved balance. The uniform pressure of the water along with buoyancy provides support which allows increased time to react without the fear of falling or getting hurt.