What is hydrotherapy?
Hydrotherapy is physiotherapy in the water, utilising the properties of the water to aid strengthening, positioning and function.
Hydrotherapy at Bumble Bee Physio
We use several pools around London for hydrotherapy sessions, and these need to be booked in advance, with availability varying depending on location.
Properties of water
At BBP, we apply the following properties of water to develop and complement our physiotherapy sessions:
Buoyancy of water relates to the floating motion of objects in the water. Water acts as a force, pushing against the body and can assist with various positions when the superhero suffers from weakness. Frequently, children who cannot walk unaided on land, can walk unaided in water due to its buoyancy. This is useful for children with weight bearing issues such as hip pain and subluxation, or superheroes with syndromes who may struggle with saving reactions on land, where walking practice may be dangerous. It is also beneficial for our larger and older teenagers, when practicalities may prevent them walking on land.
Reduced effects of gravity
With gravity eliminated more than on land, the possibilities are endless! Lots of our superheroes have low muscle tone, or reduced core and trunk strength and find anti-gravity positions challenging. In the water, they are able to learn new positions, increase their body awareness and motor planning, and subsequently cross these skills over to land, where they can practise the same technique after building up strength. This is beneficial for our kids with quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and other children with low trunk muscle tone.
Increased temperature of the water
The higher temperature of the hydrotherapy pool has pain relieving effects, as well as the ability to improve joint range of movement. This can be helpful for children post orthopaedic surgery where pain and stiffness may occur, or children with severe hypertonia or contractures.
Increased resistance of the water
The added resistance of the water enables superheroes to strengthen their muscles without noticing! We use pushing objects under the water, kicking, star movements and trunk twists to gain muscle strength in all of these areas! It’s hard work though!
BBP star Daniel
Our superhero Daniel is 17 years old and has quadriplegic cerebral palsy. He has significant high tone in all of his limbs which make standing with parents increasingly difficult, especially as he has got older. In the hydrotherapy pool, Team BBP are able to get Daniel walking with minimal support around his hips. Daniel loves this activity and takes lots of videos to show his friends!