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On Thursday 11 April, two of our adult services were hosted by University of Nottingham Sport in their Sport Injury Clinic hydrotherapy pool. Their state-of-the-art Hydro pool is heated to between 32 and 34˚C, allowing your body to relax, encouraging pain relief, better circulation, and improved flexibility. Hydrotherapy is the use of exercise in a heated pool to treat a variety of conditions.

Our adult service users took part in a number of activities in the pool, gaining confidence and enjoying the weightless feeling in their body. The sessions were great experience for both Nottingham staff as well as the service users. The aim was to let the users be themselves and enjoy moving freely in the water during a controlled session but equally let the users follow their own intuition, to see all of them smile at the end of session meant the morning was a huge success.

Alexandra Devanney, an Adult Service Manager at the Autism East Midlands Residential Centre- Beechwood, commented on the success of the session; “The sensory feeling of the water at the temperature and the opportunity to have the pool to ourselves is exactly what our user’s need.
One of the ladies taking part has cerebral palsy as well as her autism, she often stumbles and falls but for her to experience a weightless feeling in the pool is amazing for her.
The majority of our users love swimming, however one of our service users today hasn’t accessed a pool in 2 years due to sensory overload in the past at a pool. But today he’s enjoyed being in the new facility and I am so pleased with how he engaged in the session.
The ladies in the pool this morning have been fantastic, they lowered their approaches, talking quietly and not making fast movements. They were key in keeping calm, making sure instructions were clear and consist.”

Benefits of Hydrotherapy for those with Autism
• Improves social behaviours
o Hydrotherapy involves working with a practitioner in the pool, forming bonds such as these in the pool can help with social behaviours outside the pool.
• Aids sensory processing disorders
o The sensation of water can reduce the risk of sensory overload due to its calming sensation on the body. This in turn reduces stress, calming and soothing autistic people.
• It’s good exercise
o For all remaining active throughout life has a number of health benefits, keeping participants physically fit and managing weight. Exercise in water has added benefits, as it is a total body workout and participants are going to generate endorphins feeling better for longer after exercise.

Think hydrotherapy could work for you or someone you know? Enquire with the University of Nottingham by emailing sportsinjuries@nottingham.ac.uk or calling: +44 115 74 87070.