Therapists working in the aquatic environment can use the Ten Point Programme of the Halliwick Concept and its philosophy in a therapeutic manner, promoting well-being in the physical structure and function of the body which will enhance motor-learning and functional independence.
The individual’s quality of life is at the centre of the holistic approach to health used in the biopsychosocial model as used by the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) – (WHO 2001).
The holistic Halliwick approach of teaching people to participate in water activities, to move independently in water and to swim fits well within the framework of the ICF.
Therapists wishing to address particular limitations can again use the Halliwick structure with specific attention to areas such as movement (including range, co-ordination and planning), strength, stamina, respiratory capacity, oral control, fitness etc. The water can also be a valuable place for sensory-integration.
Social skills, communication, learning ability, psychological well-being and self esteem can be developed through Halliwick sessions, especially when working in groups.
Working using Halliwick introduces a new environmental factor to work on movement and balance control strategies in a different way. The attributes of the aquatic environment, specifically the physical properties of water, can assist the individual in promoting his abilities in physical, emotional and social functioning (Harris, 1978; Adams& McCubbin,1991; Broach & Datillo, 1996; Hutzler et al, 1998; Cole & Becker, 2004; Getz, 2006).
The Ten Point Programme develops the patient’s ability to initiate and perform movements and activities which may be difficult to achieve on land.
Opportunities to practise movement in the aquatic environment may facilitate new patterns that increase the recognition and understanding of different concepts of motor learning, sensory processing and cognitive learning and develops the ability to organise movement patterns and control activities required in daily living. (MacKinnon, 1997; Bumin et al., 2003; Getz, 2006; Getz et al., 2007).
Swimming can be an important activity in promoting well-being throughout a person’s lifespan. As outlined previously, swimming as a therapeutic tool has an important role in improving and maintaining health.