Weightlessness In Water Is Making an Impact

There is something magical about the weightless feeling of floating in a pool, letting the water carry you effortlessly. It’s a reprieve from Earth’s gravity and it’s in the water where you are allowed to utilize your body in different ways.

A pool offers a unique environment for a wide range of therapeutic activities and benefits making it an ideal setting for therapy to occur. It’s not even necessary to have an Olympic-sized pool with expensive technology to obtain positive outcomes. Even in a basic, heated pool, therapists can provide meaningful, personalized treatment that is based on each individual’s needs.

It was exactly those positive outcomes that the Children’s Clinics’ rehabilitation team strove for when they launched the Aquatic Therapy program two and a half years ago. Despite the slight setback with the pandemic, the program has been moving forward steadily and the benefits of the program are being fully realized.

Some of the children that have benefited most are the kids who can’t move on land. When there’s less weight to carry, joints and muscles tend to move more easily. This buoyancy is the ultimate platform to be able to access any part of the body. The ease of movement buoyancy allows, and the gentle resistance being in water provides, are used in activities that help achieve therapy goals.

“Right now, they’ve been in the pool for eight weeks (a typical session), and they’re more confident in their movements and have better body awareness,” said Rafael “Ricky” Figueroa, a physical therapist at Children’s Clinics. “We’re very proud of that whole body input that the water provides. It’s easier to know where your legs and arms are in that space (water). So then when we translate that to land, it’s there. And ultimately, that’s our whole goal is to have this translate to the land because unfortunately, we don’t live in the water.”

Aqua therapy is not prescribed for every patient. A team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists at Children’s Clinics take into consideration many factors before assigning this specific therapy to patients. However, for those patients who do experience aquatic therapy, the impact is significant. The warm, buoyant water allows the individual to feel free and lightweight by reducing body weight by up to 90%. Children that are normally chair-bound can move freely in the water allowing a freedom they normally wouldn’t experience on land.

Other benefits of Aqua Therapy are plentiful. The act of just kicking across the pool helps with an increased range of motion, improves muscle strength, and enhances cardiovascular fitness. In addition, the act of merely being in the pool boosts balance and coordination, helps with social interaction, and overall increases confidence and self-esteem. Even the heated water of the pool promotes muscle relaxation and has a calming effect on the body and mind.

Aquatic therapy may be nontraditional, but its benefits and outcomes are impactful and worth pursuing for patients. Plus, it is a fulfillment of Children’s Clinics’ mission to provide exceptional care even if it occurs in a wet and weightless environment.

Ten Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

BY: Amy Serafin



Aquatic therapy, also known as hydrotherapy or aquatic rehabilitation, is a form of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or other water-based environment. It offers numerous benefits for children with disabilities, promoting physical, cognitive, and social development. Here are some of the key benefits of aquatic therapy for children with disabilities:

  1. Buoyancy and reduced weight-bearing: Water provides buoyancy, which reduces the effects of gravity on the body. This allows children with disabilities to move more easily, experiencing reduced weight-bearing and less strain on their joints. The water’s buoyancy also helps improve balance and stability.
  2. Increased range of motion: Water’s natural resistance provides gentle pressure against the body, which can help improve muscle strength and flexibility. The buoyancy of water allows children to move their limbs through a wider range of motion, promoting joint mobility.
  3. Improved muscle strength and endurance: Aquatic therapy offers an environment where children can engage in various exercises and activities that target muscle strengthening. Water resistance increases the challenge for muscles, leading to improved strength and endurance over time.
  4. Enhanced cardiovascular fitness: Engaging in water-based exercises helps promote cardiovascular fitness. The resistance of water provides a gentle yet effective workout for the heart and lungs, improving overall cardiovascular health.
  5. Sensory stimulation: Water provides a unique sensory experience with its temperature, texture, and hydrostatic pressure. Aquatic therapy can stimulate the sensory systems of children with disabilities, enhancing their proprioception, tactile awareness, and overall sensory integration.
  6. Pain management: Warm water used in aquatic therapy can help relieve pain and muscle spasms, providing a soothing effect on the body. The hydrostatic pressure of the water can also reduce swelling and inflammation, providing pain relief for children with disabilities.
  7. Balance and coordination improvement: Water’s buoyancy and resistance challenge the body’s balance and coordination systems. By participating in aquatic therapy, children can enhance their balance, coordination, and overall body awareness.
  8. Increased confidence and self-esteem: Aquatic therapy can be a fun and enjoyable experience for children with disabilities. Achieving new physical milestones and experiencing success in the water can boost their confidence and self-esteem, transferring to other aspects of their lives.
  9. Social interaction and peer support: Participating in aquatic therapy often involves group sessions, providing opportunities for children with disabilities to interact with their peers. This social aspect promotes communication, cooperation, and the development of social skills.
  10. Relaxation and stress reduction: Water has a calming effect on the body and mind. Aquatic therapy can help children with disabilities relax, reduce anxiety, and manage stress levels.

Aquatic therapy at Children’s Clinics integrates the unique knowledge, skills, and training of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech and language pathologist to provide rehabilitative services in a pool that are individual to each patient. It’s important to note that the specific benefits of aquatic therapy may vary depending on the individual needs and disabilities of each child. Consulting with one of our physical therapist can help determine if the aquatic therapy program is suitable for a specific patient.