Swim baby, swim


The pediatrician Dr. Panagiotis Yagou in collaboration with Mind Body Baby talk to us about aquatic therapy and baby massage.

What is hydrotherapy and would you recommend it to a mother of a newborn?

The first 1001 days of a child's life, from conception to the age of 2, are considered the most important for their development. It is at this early age that the 'roots' of their emotional and physical health are established. Childhood stays with us for life.
Aquatic therapy uses a gentle technique which is carried out in a specially designed heated pool for mums and their newborns.
We believe in prevention and early intervention to help our children achieve their developmental goals. Any coercion or trauma can create long-term negative effects.

Learning the necessary skills, especially how to get the head and body under water in a controlled manner, breathing control and motor skills allow for the development of a healthy relationship with the water.
A child's swimming ability develops globally. Children have an innate affinity/love for water so learning to swim can become fun, like a journey of exploration.

What are hydrotherapy procedures and what is involved in it?
We specialize in small children from two days to eight years of age to learn flotation techniques, aquatic therapy, to develop swimming skills, swimming safety as well as massage for relaxation.
Treatment begins with learning to float for babies, which helps develop core stability as well as relief from regurgitation, constipation and teething pains.
The temperature of the pool is set at 35-36 degrees Celsius, for immediate relaxation of the little ones, and ultraviolet radiation is used to neutralize bacteria without adding chemicals.
The first 5 to 7 minutes are equivalent to 30 minutes of exercise for an adult. It is therefore very important not to overdo the exercise in young children, but to gradually increase their training time until they can float for 15 minutes. This will indicate to us the development of their strength, self-confidence and independence. The above is achieved using a specially designed floating inflatable pillow made of soft material which allows maximum movement of the neck and spine and is approved by pediatricians.
We also offer aqua fitness and safe swimming services using gentle methods which ensure no stress or traumatic experiences for young children when in the water.
As skills are not learned instantly you will notice that with each session skills such as jumping, diving, diving and confidence improve. It takes 3 – 5 sessions for babies to adjust to the environment, feel comfortable and develop confidence.
Afterwards, the exercise is followed by a special massage, where the therapist shows the mother herself how to do the same techniques to the child, which she can also apply at home. Please let us know if the baby suffers from nasal congestion, constipation or teething.
Our staff consists of teachers, massage therapists for children, and specialized swimming instructors with special training in first aid.
What ages is aquatic therapy offered for, are there any age restrictions?
Aquatic therapy is suitable for children from two days old to much older, regardless of their fitness level. Newborn babies have the ability to swim from the moment they are born, but they begin to lose this ability after 6 months. Their frequent contact with water develops these abilities so they become a habit so they don't forget them.

What are the positives that aquatic therapy can offer to children's development?
Water therapy offers the following benefits:
1. Increase in physical strength and mobility, as water resistance makes exercise easier which improves balance and coordination.
2. Improves breath control as water resistance helps manage breathing while speaking.
3. Helps to achieve developmental, motor and functional goals. Studies have shown that water therapy helps improve balance and mobility. They benefit from the fact that it is clearly easier to learn to move in water.
4. Helps develop social skills and self-confidence. When children improve their movement skills, social anxiety decreases and their self-confidence increases. Through play in the pool, speech is developed and encouraged. Studies have shown that children who had contact with water at an early age are more advanced in age compared to those who were late in coming into contact with water.
5. Water therapy in a safe environment is a particularly enjoyable activity for young children, which simultaneously teaches them not to be afraid of water while helping children develop their muscle mass.
6. In young children, water therapy helps relieve colic pain, manage reflux, improve sleep quality.
7. In premature babies, water therapy has been shown to significantly reduce physical stressors, aid sleep, increase appetite and weight gain.



Are there any risks in hydrotherapy?
Aquatic therapy offers significantly less risk as there is almost zero gravity within the pool, with children's weight almost non-existent, making movement easier.
Water provides a continuous, fluid, speed-dependent uniform resistance that helps with strengthening, having the ability to provide a greater range of motion for babies.

Continuous pressure develops the body's ability to improve the mind-body relationship. Thus, hydrotherapy offers many benefits to babies and newborns to grow into strong adults.

In a 2007 study, from "Pediatric Physical Therapy", 37 children who had some form of functional or motor development delay were studied, and were prescribed various forms of therapy. The study concluded that the children who followed the aquatic therapy had much more positive results compared to the other children.

Is the flotation device (life jacket) safe for babies' necks?
The life jacket supports the head on the surface offering children free movement in the water. Safety is the top priority when it comes to children's necks and necks and has been studied by various healthcare professionals including:
Stacy Menz, a distinguished pediatric clinical specialist with a master's and doctorate in physical therapy from Boston University and expertise in early interventional medicine; in hospitals and private clinics.

Joe Campos, Professor at UC Berkeley with a research interest in all childhood developmental goals. Specializing in Social Emotional Development during childhood as well as the interaction relationship of motor, social and emotional developmental skills.
David Anderson, Director of the Marion Wright Edelman Institute at the University of San Francisco, which specializes in the study of motor skill acquisition and its impact on psychological functioning during childhood.
Dr. Chris Baker is a pediatrician and pediatric emergency medicine specialist with a research interest in diseases of the lung and brain, and many years of experience as an emergency physician at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.
Mind Body Baby is encouraged by all the positive feedback from parents and children to continue researching to achieve continuous improvement of its services.
Read the article from the Cyprus Times here 

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