Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important information from Sharp
Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Driving Directions
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

Hydrotherapy in the NICU (video)

Jan. 4, 2018

If you ask baby Clementine’s parents, they’ll tell you they call it her “spa day” — and the best day of their week.

Clementine, and other premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, sometimes participate in a form of developmental care known as hydrotherapy.

Hydrotherapy is a handling technique used in physical therapy treatments to promote brain development and motor patterns in babies born earlier than 32 weeks. It involves gently immersing babies in warm water (approximately 101° F) to eliminate the effects of gravity by using the buoyancy of water to support their tiny bodies.

The temperature and water pressure provide positive touch experiences, which are important for brain and nervous system development of infants in the NICU.

NICU physical therapists use hydrotherapy and the buoyancy of water to help strengthen the arms, legs and core muscles of premature babies, and develop the fetal position, or “tuck” position — a pattern demonstrated by full-term babies.

“If they can tuck and flex their body against gravity, they’ll be able to start developing early motor skills that are needed to roll around and reach other things in their environment,” says Robyn Wyzinski, a NICU physical therapist.

Another goal of hydrotherapy is to help babies socially interact with their parents and caretakers.

“There is a certain amount of calming that happens within the babies, and, in turn, they give more attention to the people surrounding them,” says Wyzinski.

The soothing warm water helps calm hyper-exaggerated stress reflexes that premature babies demonstrate in the early stages of development. Babies start visually focusing on their parents and establishing a bond.

To connect further with their baby, parents are encouraged to participate by delicately bathing their baby before the session ends.

“Parents feel empowered to provide touch in order to support their baby’s development while they are here, and they love to see their baby’s response to their voice,” says Wyzinski.

Sharp Mary Birch is the first hospital in Southern California and one of a few facilities in the country to offer hydrotherapy during physical therapy treatments in the NICU.

For the news media: To talk with Robyn Wyzinski about hydrotherapy for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us


If this is a life- or limb-threatening emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth

Find other numbers

View our phone directory

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your Sharp hospital account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process hospital price estimates if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

To learn more, call us at 858-499-5901.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.