Aquatic therapy exercises (part 2)
Continuing our look at aquatic therapy exercises, we have found a few more which, among other attributes, help and rehabilitate the disabled.
The Halliwick Concept was founded in the 1940s by a swimming instructor and hydromechanics engineer James McMillan. This approach is based on a belief that water activities set the base for all aspects of physical, recreational, personal, and social therapy. In particular, water therapy offers a great benefit for those with physical and/or learning difficulties, helping them to move independently in water, and swim.
By water allowing people the ability to move freely, the Halliwick series of exercise techniques build up core stability and improve balance. At the London Halliwick School for Girls with Disabilities, the programme teaches swimming skills and independence to many physically disabled young people.
As seen here, this ten point programme includes –
- Mental Adjustment – reacting with water and breathing control.
- Sagittal Rotation control – controlling the movement of the body from left to right from a vertical position.
- Transversal Rotational Control – lying down, standing and rocking movements
- Longitudinal Rotation Control – controlling the rotation of the body in a horizontal position.
- Combined Rotation Control – keeping the body controlled under a combination of 2,3, and 4.
- Upthrust or Mental Inversion – understanding that the body floats.
- Balance in Stillness – controlling the body in a balanced way.
- Turbulent Gliding – controlling the body via the head and trunk.
- Simple Progression – beginnings of unsupported swimming action.
- Basic Halliwick Movement – swimming with propelling arm movement.
Halliwick aquatic therapy is used as a therapy solution and as such each patient requires an individual tailored programme based around the ten points. The Halliwick Concept has been so successful it has now expanded to include centres, courses and conferences all over the world.
Watsu water therapy
Watsu combines elements of joint movement, massage, shiatsu, stretching and dance, all undertaken in warm water. Being continuously supported, the relaxing effects of the warm water and massage, movement and stretching offers a range of therapeutic benefits. Health centres all around the country are offering Watsu as an alternative to stress relief.
Watsu, developed in the early 1980s by Harold Dull, has since been developed into many other similar therapies, treating both neurological and orthopedic conditions.
- Waterdance – developed by Arjana Brunschwiler and Aman Schroter in 1987, combines massage, dance, somersaults and Aikido-like movements. The sessions begin with surface water stretches and then progress to underwater exercising.
- Healing Dance – a combination of Watsu & Waterdance, focuses on rhythm and 3D movements above and under the water.
- Jahara Technique – incorporating flotation devices to offer traction for spinal and muscle ailments.
Underwater treadmill running
We have seen how water therapy has evolved over the years and has even encroached into one of the most popular forms of exercise – running. The popularity of underwater running has exploded but the benefits of underwater treadmill running are still emerging. Although this may seem like an odd pastime, it has many more benefits than shifting a few calories.
- Helps athletes recover or regain full-body motion after surgery.
- Aides the reintroduction of walking in a low impact environment.
- Improves gait patterns more accurately than aqua jogging.
- Accelerates cardiovascular stamina.
- Strengthens muscles.
- Lowers blood pressure levels.
- Lessens joint stiffness.
It has long been acknowledged that water and peacefulness go hand in hand, and it seems that water has endless benefits when it comes to improving our lives.
Photo by Therme Loipersdorf