Splash Into Cerebral Palsy Awareness

Mar 16, 2016
Tagged with: Splash Into Cerebral Palsy Awareness

Individuals dealing with Cerebral Palsy often do not think of the swimming pool as being a place for wellness and relaxation.    If you are dealing with Cerebral Palsy or know of someone, then you know that spasticity can create issues that become life changers. 

Spasticity occurs when reflexes are exaggerated and muscle movement is stiff.  Muscle tightness can lead to decreased joint flexibility which can then lead to immobility.  Exercise at this point becomes difficult for the individual.  Aquatic based exercise or individual aquatic bodywork with a massage therapist can create a positive change with performance using the properties of water to resist and assist movement.   The ideal water temperature for the most benefit is 92-94 degrees.

Warm water exercise utilizes the properties of the warm water to facilitate circulation by increasing blood flow.  A cooler pool will still utilize the properties of the water however it will not calm the nervous system as quickly as that of the warm water.  Calming of the nervous system allows the body to take a deep breath.  The hydrostatic pressure of the water at a depth of the chest encourages a gradient flow to the bodies’ tissues, increasing the oxygen levels for tissue health.   Decreasing gravity with water exercise has the potential to give movement to areas of the body that struggled against gravity with land based exercise.  Freedom of movement encourages the nervous system to calm itself, giving the individual a relaxed state of well – being.

Aquatic bodywork improves soft tissue mobility and decreased hyper-tonicity.  Bodywork changes the sensory input for the client that allows a re-education of the nervous system.  Manual pressure given by the therapist sustains a slow stretch of the muscle fiber and the gentle movement of the water allows the body time to respond in a beneficial way.  Aquatic bodywork activates vestibular stimulation that will facilitate proprioceptive responses in the nervous tissue and muscular tissue.  Neuromuscular relaxation is achieved with a 30 minute to 60 minute session.   Enjoy the sense of relaxation that the water will give you.  Find yourself a pool.

Author: Windy Wills



  • bobl07

    This aquatic therapy is very much unknown to people with disabilities. However, it is so important that people realize what the benefits are. Thanks for sharing!