The Perks of Hydrotherapy
If there were one thing I wish I’d had insight into growing up with cerebral palsy, it’s that while CP isn’t ‘degenerative’, this doesn’t make it unchanging.
As a child, my paediatricians explained this idea and the concept of ‘wear and tear’ to me, but it was only as I entered adulthood that I understand what this meant.
I’ve tried many physical therapies and exercises in the last decade, but the consistency and results varied. I would become a gym member for a while but get bored or struggle with yoga techniques. Physiotherapy (although still part of my life) always feels like a chore.
This isn’t to say that these techniques couldn’t be the right fit for some people; a friend of mine swears by the gym for managing his cerebral palsy, but if your experiences are like mine, there might be another alternative.
I first tried hydrotherapy after my surgeries when I was twelve. My surgeons urged my parents that it was effective while in recovery mode. But since that time, I’d forgotten this amazing resource.
The best aspect of getting in the water with cerebral palsy is that when my body weight is suspended, I can suddenly do things I normally can’t do on dry land. Walking unaided, stretching, posture and balance all improve in the water.
Over the last year, I’ve reincorporated hydrotherapy into my routine. The perks of being in the water have had a positive flow effect on other areas of my life.
If you’re thinking of trying hydrotherapy, here are some possible benefits:
1. Not your typical pool.
Unlike regular swimming pools, hydrotherapy pools are heated (typically around 25 degrees Celsius). The warm temperature helps with muscle aches and pains and feels incredible all year round.
2. A fun social outlet.
Hydrotherapy is a great opportunity to invite a friend, get in the water and have fun together. So many of our social activities revolve around food or sedentary activities. This way, you’re improving your social connections and getting healthy at the same time.
3. Reduces pain. Increases flexibility.
There are many things I do to maintain my mobility. Pilates, Botox therapy, and swimming are some key examples. But I combine these things to reduce my muscle spasticity and tightness. Whenever I get out of the hydro pool, I always feel amazing, my legs are limber, and it’s easier to move around on my feet. 4. Endorphin rush.
I get a huge endorphin rush anytime I get in the pool; it boosts my energy and mood and is great for staving off the winter blues. 5. Weight-loss aide.
Although it might not be your ultimate goal, regular swim sessions are an incredible calorie burner; I usually try to go swimming 3-4 times a week. With a little time, you might notice a thinner you, which is also a great help with mobility.
Want to learn more about hydrotherapy or find a leisure centre near you? Call CPSN on 9478 1001 or email email@example.com