A definition of Juvenile Scleroderma in simple, easy to understand language
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Pool Therapy
Written by Serena Geoffrey, Physical Therapist
Long Beach, CA

Water or pool therapy offers the patient many advantages over exercising on dry land. There are multiple program and exercises equipment that can be used by the patient in the pool, which will affect the outcome of a pool therapy program.

Pool therapy can help to increase:

A patient’s range of motion

A patient’s strength and endurance

A patient’s “body in space” awareness and stabilization

A patient’s aerobic training

A patient’s functional activities

Factors influencing the benefits of pool therapy:           

The buoyancy of the water, which is an upward force on the body and the opposite of gravity, allows a person to float, assists with freedom of movement and provides a low impact environment. In shoulder deep water the body weight is reduce by 90%, which in turn decreases the stress on the musculoskeletal system and reduces pain.

The resistance of water is 12 times greater than air and is created when anything moves against it. Increasing the speed of movement or adding external resistance such as foam dumbbells can increase resistance. There are also pool therapy machines available, which can help with the exercise program. .

The pressure of the water on the body is equal over all the surfaces. It can promote increased circulation and help to reduce swelling.

The heat of the water, which is usually at 89 to 94 degrees, helps to reduce spasticity and allow a muscle to relax.

Because of these factors, during early rehabilitation, pool therapy can often be started sooner than traditional dry land activities.

Prior to starting a pool therapy program it is necessary to have a doctors prescription and to be aware of any contraindications. Patients must have control of bowels and bladders in order to avoid any accidents that will contaminate the pool and cause it to be shut down for extensive cleaning.

Pool therapy should be fun and enjoyable. For children there are a number of games and activities that can be done in the water so that the child doesn’t even know they are working. Older teens and adults may benefit from more structured programs where they have definite goals and objectives set.

Like with any pool therapy program it is necessary to have adequate supervision in the pool and on the deck. A 1 therapist to 2 patient ratio, in the water, is best with a set of “eyes “ on the deck. There should always be someone ready to go for help if the occasion arises.

There are also group programs available and are generally supervised from the deck. These programs may also have lifeguards on duty.

Please keep in mind, this webpage is for your information only.
Please check with your child's physician for any treatments.

For more information on Juvenile Scleroderma, contact:

Juvenile Scleroderma Network, Inc.
1204 W. 13th Street, San Pedro, CA 90731

Tel: (310)519-9511 (Pacific Time)
Speak to another JSD parent for emotional and logistical support provided by home-based JSD volunteers. For medical advice, please contact your child's physician.

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Updated May 14, 2008
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