Hi, our names are Lyandria Taylor and Meredith Porteous. We are both physical therapy students completing a clinical rotation here at Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy (CEPT). During our time at CEPT, we have come across several questions regarding aquatic therapy. Our goal is to provide some insight into aquatic therapy and hopefully answer some of the most frequently asked questions about aquatic therapy at CEPT!
What Is Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic therapy, also known as hydrotherapy, is the practice of exercise in water. It is not specific to physical therapy as other disciplines such as occupational and speech therapy perform it too with specific treatment benefits in mind. An aquatic program is designed as part of an individualized treatment plan to achieve specific goals. At Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy, when your child participates in aquatic therapy, they will also have therapy sessions on land. Even though your child may attend multiple physical therapy sessions throughout the week, at maximum they will only have one aquatic session per week placed on the schedule. If your child qualifies for aquatic therapy, their sessions will be scheduled during normal business hours.
The CEPT pool is 4ft 6in deep with a temperature set at 95 degrees. The pool temperature may be adjusted for specific patient diagnoses. The CEPT pool also has a built-in underwater treadmill, pool jets, and removable handrails for a full aquatic therapy experience.
Regarding physical therapy, aquatic therapy is a tool that is beneficial due to water’s ability to absorb pressure and lessen the effect of gravity. The body becomes more buoyant, decreasing weight-bearing capacity, which reduces the amount of force and stress placed on the joints. The pressure of the water also provides sensory input that can help with body awareness. All these factors allow us to practice skills that require strength, coordination, balance, and body awareness in a gravity reduced environment. We often find that kids lacking the strength, balance, or body awareness to complete certain skills on land may find more success when they practice in water.
For the safety of the patient and therapists, your child must be fully potty trained, tall enough to reach the bottom of the pool, and non-impulsive. In addition, the pool located at the CEPT Allen location does not have manual lifts so the patient must be able to get in and out of the pool on their own with minimal assistance. All these factors are taken into consideration when deciding if aquatic therapy will be utilized during their time at CEPT.
Your Next Step
If you are interested to know if your child would benefit from aquatic therapy, please feel welcome to ask a therapist if it is an appropriate tool to utilize in your child’s treatment. It is important to note that CEPT does not provide swimming lessons as our therapists and staff are not certified in swim training. To learn more about other community resources for kids with special needs, such as swim lessons, ask our front desk about our Community Resource Packet.
We hope that this post has help you learn more about aquatic therapy and its usage at Cutting Edge Pediatric Therapy!