Halliwick is a hydrotherapy concept developed in 1950 as a swimming method for people with special needs. It uses the buoyancy of the water to support the mobility and stability of the trunk. Thereby the Halliwick concept is a constraint-induced movement therapy. The Halliwick concept consist of water specific therapy (WST) and a ten point pragramme, which focuses on the control over rotations around various axis of the body, to create a core stability. By using the Halliwick concept you’re using an problem solving method. The possibilities and constraints of the patient are analysed to help the clients functions and independence.

Advantages which the hydrotherapy method provides

The Halliwick concept can be usefull because of the following advantages:

  • Breath control.
  • Mobility and stability of the joints.
  • Muscle strength and endurance.
  • Normalizing muscle tone.
  • Involuntary movement reactions.
  • Control of voluntary movement functions.
  • Gait.
  • Mental adjustment to water.

There are different areas which can be improved through groep sessions:

  • Social skills
  • Communication
  • learning ability
  • Psychological well being
  • Self-esteem

The ten point programme

  1. Mental Adjustment (MA)
  2. Sagittal Rotation Control (SRC)
  3. Transversal Rotation Control (TRC)
  4. Longitudinal Rotation Control (LRC)
  5. Combined Rotation Control (CRC)
  6. Upthrust or Mental Inversion (MI)
  7. Balance In Stillness (BIS)
  8. Turbulent Gliding (TG)
  9. Simple Progression (SP)
  10. Basic halliwick Movement (BM)

These steps shouldn’t be used as a sequence but rather as a guideline. For example point 7, Balance in stillness, can be used as a prerequisite for the rotation points (SRC,TRC,LRC,CRC).

The different points can be used for different functions or disabilities, these are:

Componets of the ICF (Internation Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) 10 point programme steps
B440: Respiratory function All points, mainly MA
B760: Control of voluntary movement functions All points
D410: Changing basic body position SRC, TRC, LRC, CRC
D415: Maintaining a body position MI, BIS, TG
D420: Transferring oneself Entries and exits in and out of the water
D430: Lifting and carrying objects MA, SRC, BIS
D435: Moving objects with lower extremities MA, LRC, BM and beyond the programme
D440: Fine hand use Most of the points
D445: Hand and arm use Most of the points
D450: Walking MA, SRC
D455: moving around (D4554: swimming) also bicycling, jumping and somersaulting SP, BM, MA, TCR and beyond the programme
D465: Moving around using equipment MI and beyond the programme
D510: washing oneself MA
D920: recreation and leisure beyond the programme

Water specific Therapy

Water specific therapy or WTS is an expansion of the the point programe. The aim of this expansion was to develop a therapeutic method for adults with Orthopaedic, Rheumatologie and Neurological conditions. WTS is used to treat impairments body functions or structure. WTS is an extension of the ten point programme. these Classification of the ICF can be linked to water specific therapy:

  • B440: Respiratory functions
  • B710: Mobility of joint functions
  • B715: Stability of joint functions
  • B730: Muscle power functions
  • B735: Muscle tone functions
  • B740: Muscle endurance functions
  • B755: Involuntary movement reaction functions
  • B760: Control of voluntary movement functions
  • B770: Gait pattern functions
  • D430: lifting and carrying objects
  • D435: Moving objects with lower extreemities
  • D440: Fine hand use
  • D445: Hand and arm use

Hydrotherapy equipment


The Halliwick concept: developing the teaching of swimming to disabled, by Patrick Hastings(2010)
The Halliwick concept 2010 by the IHA education and research committee (2010)
The Halliwck concept, by Johan Lambeck and Urs Gamper (2010)