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What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is physiotherapy which takes place in the water and uses the properties of water to aid movement.

At Sheffield Children’s Hospital, the therapists use the pool in many ways.

This can be as part of a therapy treatment plan, to boost parents’ and carers’ confidence in handling their child in the water, or as part of a group session.

Who would benefit from hydrotherapy?

Together you and the therapist will decide whether hydrotherapy is appropriate and will then either refer your child to one of our hydrotherapy clinics, or arrange individual sessions in the pool as part of a therapy programme.

The goal of hydrotherapy is different for every child, but some examples are:

  • strengthening muscles, to allow your child to move more easily
  • increasing physical fitness, so they can join in for longer with their friends
  • improving confidence in the water, so they can go to swimming lessons, or go swimming with family
  • different sensory experience, using the water to help with high tone, joint stiffness or pain.

Sessions are usually run by a therapist and a therapy assistant.

Sessions may be one off, or in a block of 4 to 6 sessions.

Where is the hydrotherapy pool?

Our Hydrotherapy pool is at Ryegate Children’s centre, in the therapy block. The address is:

Telephone number for Ryegate reception: 0114 271 7610

There is on-site parking and disabled parking spaces next to the therapy block.

Ryegate therapy block

Photograph of Ryegate therapy block entrance

Ryegate hydrotherapy pool

Photograph of Ryegate hydrotherapy pool


The pool has steps down with a handrail either side and a tracking hoist and slings which allow children to be moved from the changing rooms, shower room or pool.

There are 2 changing rooms, each with a height adjustable plinth and a shower room with a shower plinth. You must shower before entering the pool and after leaving the pool.  There is an accessible toilet located beside the pool.

Photograph of bed and hoist rail

Before the session

Checking you are medically fit for hydrotherapy

Your physiotherapist will check to make sure your child is safe (medically stable) to have hydrotherapy before starting. They will explain any special considerations, such as waterproof dressings to cover lines.

If you would like to enter the pool with your child, please talk to your physiotherapists before the session. You will need the same medical screening.


If your child becomes unwell before the hydrotherapy session, please call and speak to your physiotherapist, as the session will likely need to be rebooked. As with all medical appointments, there needs to be 48 hours from the end of symptoms, if you child has diarrhoea or has been sick.

Let the reception desk at Ryegate know you have arrived and take a seat in the waiting area.

Before entering the pool area you will be asked to remove footwear, or use the blue shoe covers over shoes to keep the area clean.

What should I bring?

Please bring a suitable swimming costume, towels, swim nappies or waterproof swim pants if your child needs these. We would also recommend you bring a drink as it is very warm in the pool.

During the session

This is the fun part!

The water is much warmer than a public swimming pool (between 33 to 36 degrees Celsius) so the session will only be around 20 to 30 minutes in the pool.

Illustration of adult helping child into a swimming pool

Your physiotherapist may ask your child to do specific exercises to strengthen or stretch muscles, practice swimming with different aids, climb in and out of the pool or floats, or play games in the pool.

Illustration of child doing leg bend in swimming pool Illustration of child doing leg bend in swimming pool

Illustration of person floating on their back in a swimming pool

After the session

Your child may feel tired after the session, so its best to keep this in mind after your first session. We recommend that your child has something to eat and plenty to drink after the session.

If your child has enjoyed the session, talk to your physiotherapist about different options for continuing swimming after your block of hydrotherapy ends.

Is something missing from this resource that you think should be included? Please let us know

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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Western Bank
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

Interesting Facts

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