Swimming and aquatic therapy can be a great way of providing therapy and exercise for those with cerebral palsy. It is safer than other therapeutic methods which can result in one getting hurt by falling down; with swimming this isn’t the case. In addition, the warmth of a heated swim area – such as hydrotherapy pools often used for therapeutic swim classes – can relieve muscle stiffness and pain. It can also be excellent for coordination development and spasticity reduction, while teaching a more varied motor function. Not only does this give the cerebral palsy patient more independence, but in some extreme cases where the patient is unable to engage in any exercise, this provides a solution; the water enables a wider range of motion capacities, while assisting in blood and nervous system development. Also, if a child wears flippers while swimming, the therapeutic benefits can be increased as their kick gains additional force, enabling them to focus more on their upper-body strokes, thus increasing upper-body strength.
There are actually specific types of swim therapy for those who have cerebral palsy. These include: Ai Chi (yoga in the water); Aquatic PNF (swim therapy based on the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation technique); Aquatic Feldenkrais (Feldenkrais in the water); Watsu; Bad Rangas ring method; Halliwick and Swim Stroke. These therapeutic techniques have proven to be quite successful with people who have cerebral palsy.