What Is Halliwick?

T. Carrier

Halliwick is a form of physical therapy involving water. It features both mental and physical components. Independence, balance control, and rotational movement are key traits. Proponents believe that the aquatic environment has some important advantages over traditional exercise therapies, such as providing resistance and a safer moving environment, and have promoted this belief with global organizations.

Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

The procedures that make up the Halliwick method ideally allow individuals to physically function in water. Free movement and swimming are emphasized. An ultimate aim of overall physical and mental independence is targeted, both of which are highlighted by one key Halliwick principle: losing balance and standing right back up. While many exercises are group endeavors, the therapy still focuses on addressing the unique challenges and needs of each patient.

The goals of Halliwick are to provide holistic physical, emotional, and social support to disabled individuals. Many diverse individuals have benefited, including those with physical handicaps, those with psychological hindrances, and those with intellectual or learning disabilities. This rehabilitation medicine approach has contributed to the rise of water therapies across the globe.

Water plays an important role in Halliwick techniques because of its beneficial capacities. For one, the substance’s qualities of flexibility and unpredictable movement make it a strong agent of resistance. This resistance builds muscle strength. In addition, individuals are tested in a safe environment, because they lose balance yet still have a cushion. The floating capabilities of water also make it easier for an individual — especially an individual with movement restrictions — to move and rotate.

Halliwick often operates on a ten-point method, with three major considerations that interlink. Mentally preparing oneself for the therapy is crucial in the initial stages of the ten-point approach. The beginning stages thus nurture personality traits like adaptability and independence.

The next several steps highlight training the body to achieve various types of balance in the water. These middle approaches emphasize individual body control when changing positions in the water, particularly control of individual muscles and body rotation. During the closing stages of the ten-point method, the patient applies the concepts to actual movement. Water gliding constitutes the first targeted movement type, and then the patient progresses to basic swimming strokes.

Various areas around the world host organizations like the Halliwick Association of Swimming Therapy. The function of these places is twofold. For one, they set up regional clubs and organizations devoted to raising awareness about the Halliwick method. The other purpose is to offer instructional lessons for interested individuals who wish to become Halliwick method trainers.

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