‘Hydrotherapy pools can help people move again’
Physio Sinead Gallery says that as well as giving people the chance to enjoy things they once did, the pool and anti-gravity treadmill could also help some patients learn to perform the movements again which they might have lost - after a stroke, for example.
“From the neuro side we do quite a lot of rehabilitation,” she says. ”We work with them to re-engage the channels so if they’ve had a stroke their brains have been starved of oxygen.
“It’s like a train track. You have signals coming up so you might touch something hot and then you have a signal coming down to tell you to move your hand away.
“Some brain injuries don’t always have that channel come back down. So we work alongside patients to try and teach the body to build that channel again.
“It takes a bit of time bit it mostly comes back for people. So you might see them learning how to hold a cup again.
“We do a lot of visual movement with them so we might have a mirror in front of them - being able to visualise it and us doing it with them brings those channels back to them.
“The hydrotherapy pool is a massive thing for us. The warmth of the water really does relax the muscles so we can get more movement from them.
“Some patients might not be able to stand but we’ll actually be able to get them in the water and standing. It’ll help relax the muscles and help take the pain out of their joints which they wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.
“Taking the pain out of the joints is a big thing. Quite a lot of our residents do have quite tight muscles and their joints are quite restricted so it will help and hopefully have a better effect for the therapy treatment.
“We also need tilting tables so that patients can stand up in the physio room. It’s a table that you strap them to so they’ve got support at the knees, hips and shoulders so that you can bring them up into the standing position and that actually helps with the respiratory function.”