Benefits of Hydrotherapy for People with Disability

December 13, 2021

Table of Contents


Benefits of Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy could be an integral part of the supports which help People with Disability to stay healthy and happy – ranging from physical disability right through to cognitive.

Key points

  • Hydrotherapy can offer a host of benefits for people with disability
  • The focus is on building strength and skills and it can improve physical and mental health
  • It can be used by people of almost any ability
  • Hydrotherapy involves doing exercises in a swimming pool which are tailored to individual needs, and tend to be slower and softer than regular swimming.
  • The pool is heated to a higher temperature and the focus is on building strength and skills, not necessarily stamina or fitness.
  • The therapy is usually provided by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist and depending on needs the person with disability may have individual or group sessions.
  • It is suitable for children of a young age right through to older adults as all exercises are fitted to the individual.

What is hydrotherapy good for?

  • Hydrotherapy is a way of exercising which is less stressful for joints, bones and muscles as in the water the body is buoyant and you don’t have to support your own weight.
  • The pool is also set to a warm temperature of around 32-34 degrees to increase circulation, relax muscles and decrease swelling, help with muscle spasms, and reduce or remove pain, including arthritis pain.
  • This means hydrotherapy can be ideal for people with disability who have limited mobility or movement in parts of their body, or who have undergone surgery and need rehabilitation.
  • It is often used by people with cerebral palsy, for its ability to improve muscle strength with freedom of movement, but it is not limited to use by people with specific conditions.

Benefits of hydrotherapy include:

  • Building gross motor skills such as strength, balance and coordination
  • Building fine motor skills such as grip, hand and finger strength
  • Improving range of motion in joints
  • Increasing aerobic capacity
  • Exercising without pain or restricted movement
  • Working on communication skills including following instructions and expressing emotions
  • Improving posture

Non-physical benefits

  • Using hydrotherapy sessions can also help to build skills which are not related to physical ability.
  • In particular, hydrotherapy exercises can develop confidence in a person’s own abilities.
  • Attending the sessions, especially if they are group sessions or held in a pool which other members of the community are using, can boost social inclusion, independence and confidence in accessing the local community.
  • If a disability affects movement in everyday life, exercising in water can feel liberating, improve mood and overall wellbeing and increase quality of life.