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Jeff Brody
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Swimming and Cerebral Palsy

Swimming and swim therapy can be a great way of providing therapy and exercise for any person with cerebral palsy.  Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that often cause motor function malfunction.  These motor problems may cause serious muscular damage due to spasticity or stiffness in the muscles.  While there is no cure for cerebral palsy there are many options for therapy and treatment that may help in providing relief for some problematic symptoms.

Swimming can be one way of providing therapy for a person with cerebral palsy.  Unlike other therapeutic methods, swimming can actually be safe because there is no possibility of hurting one’s self by falling down.  All swim therapy for cerebral palsy patients should take place only under the supervision of a qualified swim therapist, however.  The warmth of a heated swim area can also provide relief from muscle stiffness or pain.  Water provides buoyancy as well, which alleviates the stress on the body that gravity causes.  Swim exercise and movements can help in losing weight and building muscle strength.  Swim therapy for cerebral palsy can also help in developing coordination as well.

Any type of physical therapy can be beneficial for the person with cerebral palsy.  Therapy can decrease spasticity and teach a more varied motor function.  These types of therapies aim at giving the person with cerebral palsy more independence.  Sometimes in severe cases swimming is the only way a person with cerebral palsy can exercise or move independently.

Aquatic therapy in a swimming pool can provide this independence, but should only be done as part of a long-term therapeutic treatment.  Water gives the person with cerebral palsy a higher range of motion capabilities.  Being in the water can also help with blood and nervous system development.  Many swim therapies are helpful because they have little or no side effects that can harm the person with cerebral palsy.  Like all therapies, swim therapy should be closely performed with and monitored by an experienced person.

Types of swim therapy for cerebral palsy include “Ai Chi,” a type of yoga in the water.  “Aquatic PNF” is a kind of swim therapy based on a technique known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation.  “Aquatic Feldenkrais” is a swim therapy modeled on the famous Feldenkrais method of physical and psychological therapy.  Other swim therapy techniques include the “Bad Ragaz ring method,” “Halliwick,” “Swim Stroke,” “Task-Type,” and “Watsu.”

These types of techniques have seen improvements in people with cerebral palsy.  In providing the opportunity for persons with cerebral palsy to help themselves in developing their individualities, swim therapy should be a beneficial and essential part of their lives. 

Contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer through this Web site for a free consultation to see if you can have the costs of swim therapy for cerebral palsy paid for. 


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