Hydrotherapy Exercises for Cerebral Palsy

Updated at: Jun 30, 2012
Hydrotherapy Exercises for Cerebral Palsy

Hydrotherapy exercises for cerebral palsy improves patient’s muscle coordination, flexibility of the body and helps to build body strength, but a trainer must be there to supervise the patient.

Gunjan Rastogi
Home RemediesWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Jun 29, 2012


Cerebral palsy affects a patient’s ability to make movements and it disrupts the muscle coordination. Learn five hydrotherapy exercises to fight the adverse effects of cerebral palsy.


Body Resistance

This exercise requires a large tub of warm water or heated swimming pool. The patient is placed in the tub or the pool and will be directed to practice movements under water, which can be easily performed and are safe for the joints. The exercises would be walking in water, walking while holding onto the side of the pool, and folding the knees towards your waist or chest.


Deep-Water Running

The water level should not be above patient’s chest. Level more than this will make movements in water difficult. To perform deep-water running, the patient requires to have good strength and coordination. In the initial days, this exercise can be practiced for five minutes. Gradually, the duration can be increased to 10-20 minutes. There should be a trainer to support the patient while he performs the exercise. Patient should not be allowed to overexert.


Treading Water

Once the patient has been able to excel in deep-water running, he will be strong enough to try treading water. This exercise involves making movements with arms and heads while standing firm inside water while the head is kept out of water. Regular practice of this exercise increases muscle strength, improves cardiovascular health and teaches basic skills to swim.  A coach must supervise the patient. In the initial days, patient can practice this for one minute and later, can increase for the duration to five minutes.

Water Pilates

It is a popular aquatic exercise for cerebral palsy that improves muscle coordination and alignment of the muscular system with the skeletal system, builds core and tones the body.  This exercise increases body’s flexibility and does not exert pressure on the joints.



This hydrotherapy exercise form promotes flexibility and muscle coordination. The movements of this exercise use gentle resistance provided by water. The patients is asked to make smooth movements with his limbs making better use of his muscles. For example, he may be directed to bend his knees or elbows. This movement may cause some discomfort and pain in the joints, but will help your body to learn more about its ergonomics and proper placement. Feldenkrais teaches the body to relax in various positions while sitting, standing and walking.


The hydrotherapy exercises for people suffering from cerebral palsy uses the physical properties of water to relieve the body weight, resist and assist motion of the body, to improve tactile stimulation and feeling of touch. Other than these advantages, there are several benefits of hydrotherapy for cerebral palsy, such as stress release and increased energy levels.


Read more articles on Hydrotherapy.




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