Dive Into Aquatic Therapy!
By completing occupational therapy in a pool, we can take advantage of the many beneficial properties of water, such as buoyancy, viscosity, and hydrostatic pressure. Buoyancy helps support the weight of the body, which in turn, alleviates pressure that is placed on the joints of the body by decreasing the effects of gravity. This allows swimmers to move freely in the water. Additionally, viscosity is concerned with the internal friction held by water and its effects on motion. This resistance helps strengthen the muscles of the body. Hydrostatic pressure produces a force to the body which helps to improve joint position awareness, improve proprioceptive awareness, and decrease edema. Together, these properties of water allow us to build muscle in a way that is simply not possible on land.
Aquatic therapy can help improve…
• Cardiovascular endurance
• Postural control and postural endurance
• Body awareness
• Motor planning
• Social skills
• Sensory processing
Swimming also allows us to support our kiddos from a sensory standpoint to improve sensory modulation and discrimination.
• Proprioceptive input: By moving against the resistance provided by the water
• Vestibular input: By moving in all different planes – Up and down, forward and backward, and even upside down!
• Whole body tactile input
• Auditory input: There are so many noises while in a swimming pool, from splashing in the water to talking with friends while playing games
• Olfactory input: The smell of chlorine or salt water
• Visual input: There are a lot of things happening around the pool, from swimming equipment and games to friends splashing around