Why aqua therapy?
Aquatic Rehabilitation is fast becoming a leading therapeutic exercise alternative. Water is an ideal treatment medium for patients with painful joints and weak muscles, allowing for earlier intervention. The buoyancy of water dramatically decreases stress on weight bearing joints, bones and muscles. In addition, water promotes general muscular relaxation and provides consistent resistance throughout a range of motion while also offering support for injured or otherwise weak areas, greater tolerance of activity, and easier gains in range of motion with less pain.
Patient populations benefiting from this form of therapy include those with:
• Multiple sclerosis and arthritis
• Joint Disorders/Replacements
Orthopedic Injuries including:
• Chronic Pain
• Post Surgical Debilitation
• Loss of Motion
• Muscle Weakness
The benefits of AQUA-THERAPY are:
• Decreased pain
• Increased mobility
• Increased strength
• Improved coordination
• Increased muscular endurance
• Increased relaxation
• Increased flexibility
• Improved posture
• Improved cardiovascular status
The physical properties of water and their effect on the human body help to explain the benefits of aquatic therapy (hydrotherapy.) Water's buoyancy virtually eliminates the effects of gravity - supporting 90 percent of the body's weight for reduced impact and greater flexibility. For example, a 140-pound woman weighs only 14 pounds in water. Water acts as a cushion for the body's weight-bearing joints, reducing stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments. As a result, aquatic workouts are low impact and can greatly reduce the injury and strain common to most land based exercises.
Due to viscosity, drag forces and frontal resistance, water provides a resistance which is proportional to the effort exerted against it. Resistance in water ranges between 4 and 42 times greater than in air, depending on the speed of movement. This makes water a natural and instantly adjustable weight training machine. Unlike most land based exercise, water provides resistance to the movement in all directions which allows all of these directions be used in the strengthening process. Water's resistance can be increased with speed and/or surface area and the resistance is proportional to the effort required to move against it.
The unique properties of water enable your heart to work more efficiently. The hydrostatic pressure of water pushes equally on all body surfaces and helps the heart circulate blood by aiding venous return - blood flow back to the heart. This assistance to the heart accounts for lower blood pressure and heart rates during deep water exercise versus similar exertions on land.
Movement and resistance properties allow patients a great deal of control...the patient is in charge! The greater the speed of movement, the greater the resistance and vice-versa.
What is Hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is a treatment that uses the multidimensional movement if the horse; from the Greek word "hippos" which means horse. Specially trained physical, occupational and speech therapists use this medical treatment for clients who have movement dysfunction. Historically, the therapeutic benefits of the horse were recognized as early as 460 BC. The use of the horse as therapy evolved throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Hippotherapy uses activities on the horse that are meaningful to the client. Treatment takes place in a controlled environment where graded sensory input can elicit appropriate adaptive responses from the client. Specific riding skills are not taught (as in therapeutic riding), but rather a foundation is established to improve neurological function and sensory processing. This foundation can then be generalized to a wide range of daily activities.
Why the Horse?
The horse's walk provides sensory input movement which is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive. The resultant movement responses in the client are similar to human movement patterns of the pelvis while walking. The variability of the horse's gait enables the therapist to grade the degree of sensory input to the client, then use this movement in combination with other clinical treatments to achieve desired results. Clients respond enthusiastically to this enjoyable learning experience in a natural setting.
Physically, hippotherapy can improve balance, posture, mobility, and function, Hippotherapy may also affect psychological, cognitive, behavioral and communication functions for clients of all ages.
General Indications for Hippotherapysize
Impairments that may be modified with hippotherapy are:
• Abnormal tone
• Impaired balance responses
• Impaired coordination
• Impaired communication
• Impaired sensorimotor function
• Postural asymmetry
• Poor postural control
• Decreased mobility
• Limbic system function related to arousal, motivation, and attention
Functional limitations relating to the following general areas may be improved with hippotherapy:
• Gross motor skills such as sitting, standing, walking
• Speech and language abilities
• Behavioral and cognitive abilities
Clients who may benefit from hippotherapy can have a variety of diagnoses. Some examples of these primary medical conditions, which may manifest some or all of the above problems and may be indications for hippotherapy are listed below. However, hippotherapy is not for every client. Each potential client must be evaluated on an individual basis by specially trained health professional.
• Cerebral Palsy
• Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke)
• Developmental Delay
• Down Syndrome
• Functional Spinal Curvature
• Learning or Language Disabilities
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
• Traumatic Brain Injury
Hippotherapy or Therapeutic Riding: What is the difference and how do I know which one is the most appropriate for my child?
1). Consider your child's specific needs:
• Does your child require constant positioning to maintain sitting balance?
• Does your child need frequent assistance to maintain attention or alertness levels?
• Is your child under the age of 5?
• Does your child have special medical needs that may require the additional knowledge and training from a licensed professional therapist?
• Does your child have sensory integration dysfunction or frequent behavioral outburst to sensory stimulus?
• Does your child have specific neuro-motor goals to work on?
• Would your child benefit most from the horse's movements in private 1:1 sessions?
If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, then hippotherapy may be the avenue most appropriate for your child at this time.
2). Next, look at the availability of programs within an hour drive of your area. Often there are many riding programs available but few therapists offering hippotherapy. In addition, therapeutic riding lessons may be offered seasonally and/or programs may have waiting lists. These are important factors in your final decision.
To find a center near you, see the directory at NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association).
3). And finally, consider the costs involved. Riding lessons typically cost less than professional treatment, however, therapy fees may be covered under your health insurance policy. You will need to consult the programs and professional in your area for more information related to your particular situation.
More about the American Hippotherapy Association
Formed in 1993, the American Hippotherapy Association's mission is to promote research, education, and communication among physical and occupational therapists and others using the horse in a treatment approach based on principles of classic hippotherapy. Registered therapists in hippotherapy are located throughout the United States and Canada.
Sites used to provide this information:
Physical therapy also begins very early. A lot of doctors prefer aggressive physical therapy prior to any splinting or surgery. They want to see how much motion can actually be gained without the big ordeal of surgery. Most parents are taught physical therapy to begin immediately with their child. These stretches are very important and are done many times a day in the first few months. Many children are also referred to a physical therapist through EI or their hospital. Physical therapists will also start working on stretches with your child as well as other activities to help them stay on track developmentally. They will try to help you figure out ways that your child can do things, how ever they need to be modified. They will focus on gross motor skills first such as rolling, sitting, getting to a sitting position, crawling, standing, walking, and walking up and down stairs. They will also help your child get use to using any assistive devices your child needs such as crutches, a gait trainer, or walker. Later on in your child's life they can also assist with the transition to school by helping your child practice skills they will use in school- sitting in a desk, walking down the hallways, playing outside. This is just a very general outline of physical therapy. Each therapist will tailor your child's course of treatment based on your child's abilities and what they need to work on as well.
Occupation Therapy? Sounds pretty funny for a child, huh? Your child's occupation is performing activities of daily living at age appropriate levels. These are the things he or she does to "occupy" his or her time. A lot of time upper extremities take the focus in occupational therapy as much time can be focused on self feeding (when age appropriate), dressing skills (also age appropriate), and fine motor skills. Occupational therapists are also trained to work on "stretching" or increasing range of motion (active or passive) in your child's joints. They may also be the one who will assist you with arm and upper extremity splints. Later in your child's life your occupational therapist may also help your child with writing and other fine motor skills needed for school and other activities of daily living. Occupational therapists may also assist in ordering adaptive devices for all of these activities such as special feeders or writing equipment. Finally, occupational therapy done early on is definitely believed to help children gain the greatest amount of function possible to perform activities of daily living.
Not all children with Arthrogryposis require speech therapy, though it often begins a very young age in these children. Some children with Arthrogryposis have physical reasons such as a small palate, small esophagus, and generally weak muscles including those used for chewing. Other children with require speech therapy because of oral sensitivity issues such as textures. Yet, others will require speech therapy due to a delay in actual speech. At a young age they can begin to work with children on allowing different textures such as rubber teethers and small vibrations in and around their mouths. At older ages they can work with children and textures of food. They also can work with children on many aspects of speech such as understanding (receptive speech) and vocalizing (expressive speech). They can also help with breath control and some other weakness related issues that affect speech. Speech therapists vary the techniques they use very much and sometimes even the most normal activity can constitute a therapy session. Often times speech therapists will read to a child or sing to a child and try to get them to sing along as well.
Alternative medicine is any practice that is perceived by its users to have the healing effects of medicine, but does not originate from evidence gathered using the scientific method, is not part of biomedicine, or is contradicted by scientific evidence or established science.
AMCSupport.org does not condone nor support alternative types of therapies.
Please see AMC-Alternative Treatments, Therapies Facebook page for other alternate therapies.
Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.
Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams - about the weight of a nickel - practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it's effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction. More info: http://www.upledger.com/.
Neurolink (NIS) is a neurological integration system based on neuroscience principles. The brain is the most knowledgeable about your body. With NIS, the brain makes the corrections needed by the body as it evaluates all aspects of body function and their interdependencies. More info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TjqGKlbc1c&feature=youtu.be.
E-Stem or Electrical muscle stimulation
Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS), also known as neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) or electromyostimulation is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses.
Kinesiology tape or K-Tap
Kinesiology tape is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used with the intent of treating pain and disability from athletic injuries and a variety of other physical disorders. Research suggests that elastic taping may help relieve pain, but not more than other treatment approaches, and there is no evidence that it can reduce disability.