So, I was at an APPG in Parliament yesterday and a question came up about the benefits of hydrotherapy. I myself have never been a recipient of hydrotherapy but I understand that it can be of great benefit to those recovering from spinal injuries or major surgery and people with neurological conditions, as well as the elderly and children with learning disabilities can all potentially benefit from hydrotherapy.
According to Mike Mynard, chairman of the Hydrotherapy Association of Chartered Physiotherapists, the list of patients who benefit from hydrotherapy included anyone suffering from a reduced ability to carry any weight 1.
Studies have been carried out in Australia trying to show the benefit of hydrotherapy for arthritis sufferers. A test group being given regular hydrotherapy sessions were found to have greater walking abilities compared to a control group who had no hydrotherapy sessions 2. A further study carried out in the UK reiterated the positive benefits that hydrotherapy can have on a patient’s walking ability 3.
Because of the apparatus involved (namely the requirement for a heated pool with staff), hydrotherapy is seen by some NHS hospitals as a “luxury they cannot afford” (see my first quoted link). However, studies carried out in the UK have shown that hydrotherapy can be a cost-effective way of helping patients to improve their overall quality of life, especially when combined with land-based physioptherapy.
The value of hydrotherapy has been recognised across the world for hundreds of years 4. Unfortunately there have been very few studies which have tried to properly measure the benefits of hydrotherapy for patients with neuromuscular conditions.
This is where YOU come in. I was wondering how many of you out there receive hydrotherapy? Do you feel that it makes a real difference? Clinical studies often focus solely on the physical aspect of hydrotherapy 5, but the mental benefits are not to be ignored. Search for hydrotherapy treatments online and you’ll find numerous providers who cite the treatment as a great form of stress-relief and we all know that stress is a killer.
I’d love to know what you guys think about it. Would any of you be interested in taking part in clinical trials that attempted to ascertain the value of hydrotherapy for patients with neuromuscular conditions?
If you think hydrotherapy helps you, I think it would be really useful if we could get a proper empirical study going into the benefits of hydrotherapy. Any data we collected could (hopefully) be presented to the government and used as evidence to argue for a greater provision of hydrotherapy services across the nation. I don’t know of any such studies which are running/being planned at the moment but I just wanted to test the water, so to speak.