A typical day - therapeutic aqua sessions
Birthlight, one amazing organisation - the water, one amazing medium. Bring these together and offer happiness, relief, solace and joy to so many.
Today, my time in the pool was a vibrant blend of a ‘Well Woman’ group session and then a therapeutic swim session for a seven year old girl with a severe acquired brain injury, finishing with a one-to-one pre-natal Aqua Yoga in a candle-lit evening glow....
All inspired and underpinned by my Birthlight Training in a variety of areas:
Special Baby & Toddler Swimming
Pre and Post Natal Aqua Yoga
Therapeutic Aqua Yoga
Building on Infant Aquatic Skills
Many Birthlight Infant Aquatics Instructors will have an ethos of ‘inclusion’ in their pool sessions, with many parents of children with disabilities warmly welcomed and integrated into infant aquatic classes. As those children get older, some disabilities can become more pronounced and the need to offer a greater degree of flexibility and adaptability in the water grows. Having completed the Birthlight Special Baby & Toddler Swimming Course, I now offer one-to-one pool sessions for children with more profound and complex needs, some from birth, others who have sustained major, life-changing injuries. Mia and Neve are two such children:
Mia, aged two, is visually impaired, has global developmental delay and is currently undergoing genetic testing to establish a diagnosis. Her father and I take Mia in the water together to stimulate her gross motor co-ordination, sensory integration and help her develop neurologically.
Neve, aged seven, sustained profound injuries following a road traffic accident two years ago. Neve has up to three pool sessions a week to develop gait skills as a step to regaining her walking skills, hand-eye co-ordination and core strengthening. Neve also has relaxation time at the end of each visit to give her a release from muscular tension and pain.
The therapeutic benefits of warm water activities during pregnancy are well-documented but women were looking to keep their pool sessions well beyond the post-partum stage. A ‘Well-Woman’ Aqua Yoga group brings together those with children now at primary school who originally came for pre-natal aquatic sessions.
Several grandmothers who brought their grandchildren for Infant Aquatic sessions learnt about this and have now come together for more tailored sessions for older women. From this, others learnt about our approach who live with often chronic, long-term ill-health which has lead to the development of Birthlight’s Aqua Yoga Therapy techniques and training opportunities.
From this, the pool now attracts those seeking pre and post operative sessions for orthopaedic surgery as such hip/knee replacements, those with chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, lipodema and lymphoedema.
Lipoedema UK invited me to showcase aquatic workshops at their UK Conference this year and I have hosted study days with physiotherapists interested in paediatric aquatic therapy.
As well as providing key skills, techniques and knowledge to work in water with others of all ages from pre-natal to those in the winter of their lives, Birthlight training guides us to work in harmony with clients, to listen, empathise and support all those who join us in the water.
Birthlight recognises the importance of us as instructors & mentors to nurture and care for ourselves in order that we can then bring a sense of wellbeing and self-empowerment to both adults and children through the aquatic activities we share in the water.
The joy of children’s learning, the relief offered through Aqua Yoga techniques & real personal milestones reached, be they developmental or in rehabilitation of the body & soul can all come together through the joys of the Birthlight approach.
By broadening your horizons and looking at the other opportunities Birthlight can offer in terms furthering your training and extending your own aquatic skills, you will be able to reach out and touch the lives of so many who will feel the tangible benefits of being in water, young and old alike.
Carol Anne Procter