As the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital for Wales celebrated its first anniversary this week, long standing patient, 14-year-old Matt Coley, paid a visit to demonstrate the benefits of one of its most popular facilities – the Noah’s Ark hydrotherapy pool. Matt, was diagnosed with an inoperable tumour on his spine at the age of eight and is a big advocate of hydrotherapy because it helps alleviate pain and tension.

Funded as a result of your ongoing support, the hydrotherapy pool provides relief to children with a range of conditions. The natural buoyancy and warmth of the water relieves pressure on joints and reduces pain, while the natural resistance it provides helps improve muscle strength and balance. The pool is equipped with a sensory light and sound system which allows children to control their environment using floating switches.

Before the facility was built there was limited access to hydrotherapy for children but, having opened its doors only a year ago, the Noah’s Ark hydrotherapy pool is now close to receiving its 100th patient and holding its 500th session.  As it’s specifically built for the young patients of Noah’s Ark, the physiotherapy team can now see outpatients as well as those staying at the hospital meaning that they can help children with chronic conditions like cystic fibrosis can also benefit.

Senior physiotherapist, Sharon Hortop, said: “Children who face physical challenges because of their medical condition often find they’re able to do more in the water than they can on dry land. That’s great for us in terms of improving their strength and mobility but the effects are often more far reaching than that. Hydrotherapy can give children a sense of confidence in their own abilities that lasts much longer that their session in the water.

“The children we see are often going through challenging times, undergoing treatments and procedures that can often be uncomfortable or painful.  The hydrotherapy pool gives us the opportunity to support children in their recovery in a way that’s effective but also really fun.  People often comment on how much laughter they hear coming from our area in the hospital and we’re very proud of that. “