Water therapy has many uses — one of these is therapy for people with cerebral palsy. If you have a family member with CP, you should consider aquatic therapy services for all of the following reasons.
Water Is Relaxing
People with CP often experience mood swings and anxiety, which may present in the form of socially unacceptable behaviors. Despite their conditions, these emotional and psychological issues can be best addressed with time in a pool. Trained individuals can help ease these individuals into a pool during a private therapy session and help support the person with CP as the person begins to feel the comforting effects of weightlessness in the water. Feeling weightless reduces anxiety and calms most people, and in people with CP, the effect is almost visually immediate.
Relaxed Muscles Equals Relaxed Spasticity
Many people with CP have spasticity of the muscles. This means that their muscles are overly tight, and/or that they have reduced muscle tone. The result is the jerking and uncontrolled movements of their arms and legs, which can be really painful and/or frustrating for them. When these clients receive aquatic therapy, and they are in the water where they can begin to relax, the muscles release and stop jerking. Then the therapist is able to perform a number of exercises to help the muscle groups in the arms and legs regain a bit of better control over those jerking movements. The more control a client can regain over his/her body, the less frustrated he/she is when trying to perform daily living tasks.
It Is Exercise for Those That Are Wheelchair-Bound
A majority of clients with more severe CP symptoms are unable to ambulate themselves. They rely heavily on wheelchairs to get around. Some can learn to ambulate with a walker and a gait belt, but only if they are willing to put forth some effort to exercise. Exercise from a wheelchair is quite difficult. However, these clients are able to leave the confines of their wheelchairs and "exercise" in the pools during aquatic therapy. When both the therapist and the doctor of a client determine that it might be possible and that the client is ready, the client can begin to attempt to walk fully assisted.
Mild Cases of CP Maintain Their Mobility
Because of the nature of the disorder, clients with CP can lose their mobility over time if they do not remain mobile. Clients with mild CP can reap the above benefits of therapy in the pool, as well as maintain their muscle structure enough to keep their ability to move. Ergo, it does not matter how mild or how severe the CP, your family member will still benefit.