Sunday, January 22, 2012

At Home Water Therapy

A friend and member mom sent me one of the most interesting links that I have seen in a while. Something so easy for any family to try out and something that could help many babies who were born prematurely or critically ill.

I'm already an advocate for water therapy. The only time I felt really comfortable during my high risk pregnancy was when I was in the water. I was able to exercise and relax at the same time. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was extremely swollen with achey joints and being in the water was the only thing that made me feel better--both physically and emotionally. It relieved so much pressure and elevated my mood every time. When battling low tone muscles, CP, and other growth development issues water therapy seems like it could help preemies.

Waterway babies is a company specializing in aquatic therapy for babies and children. They provide some great information on why this therapy is beneficial and how it can help babies with developmental delays and other issues related to prematurity or a disability. Through their website you can purchase a system ("pool" and head float) for just about $100. Here is what the system looks like.

Facts about water therapy

Hydrotherapy (water healing) has been recognized as beneficial since the dawn of civilization.

Water neutralizes the effects of gravity enabling your child to move with less effort.

Water therapy will improve lung capacity and strengthens extremities (arms/hands/fingers and legs/feet/toes).

Hydrotherapy studies document beneficial effects such as enhanced physical/mental development, increased weight gain and should be considered as an adjunct to traditional treatment strategies.

Facts about preemies and high risk births

Any baby born before 37 weeks is at risk for “developmental delays.”

Twin or multi-birth babies are often born early and have lower birth weight, making them high risk.

Low birth weight (LBW or ELBW) is another risk factor for developmental delay.

Babies born between 32-37 weeks (the “barely” premature) have the highest incidence of learning disabilities once they start school.

Babies born between 23-28 weeks are at the highest risk for lifelong disabilities, such as cerebal palsy.

Birth trauma, birth injury, or any complication at birth increases the risk of neuromotor problems, such as seizures or ‘hypotonia’ (reduced muscle tone).

85% of brain development occurs during the first 3yrs of life – this provides an opportunity for water therapy to enhance a baby’s physical and mental development.

What is this system created to do?

Their website states that with as little as 20-30 minutes in the water every day, your baby will, through his or her own movements, increase muscle tone and improve ability to move, grow and develop … leading to:

greater flexibility and range of motion
more lung capacity
improved weight gain
better sleep patterns
increased stimulation to the brain and nervous system

Visit the website to learn more and read testimonials 

I think what I personally love the most about this idea is that it is something a parent can do at home with their baby every day to help their development. It also would be a very enjoyable and relaxing time for both baby and parents, making everyone feel better and reducing stress levels. If you already have a heated pool or a really big bathtub and don't need to purchase the whole system here is a link for just the head float.

If you are interested in leaning more about aquatic therapy visit this websitethey do a great job explaining the different types of therapy, the benefits, and how to go about finding a therapist.

Please post a comment below if you have used this system before or have experience with water therapy for your baby or child.

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