Thursday, December 18, 2008

Make a Splash and Heal Your Body

Is gravity pulling you down? Try getting in the water.

The stress of everyday life can lead to illness and injury. It is so important that we find ways to relax and allow the body to heal. Each step into the water is a step closer to a healing journey. Water allows for so much movement and freedom that land sometimes doesn’t.

I find that I am always drawn back to the water whether it is where I live or where I work. I want to be in or close to the water. Our bodies consist of 70 percent water, so it is no wonder that this medium can offer so much.

I am amazed at every aquatic therapy session how much physically and emotionally individuals benefit. The warmth of the pool at the outpatient rehabilitation facility at South Stuart and the small pool at Treasure Coast Medical Pavilion are set at 89 to 92 degrees.

The constant contact with the warm flow of the water soothes the parasympathetic nervous system and is calming. The hydrostatic pressure of the water acts like embolism stockings and assists in overall circulation, cardiac output and renal function. The buoyancy of the water lifts your body into a gentle support which unloads the joints, relieving such conditions as arthritis.

Where there is pain there is guarding of the musculature and tension. Guarding creates limitation of movement or an inability to relax enough for your body to rejuvenate. Aquatic therapy invites the body to move with greater ease and relaxation, allowing for healing to take place and relieving pain.

In addition to relaxing, there are many ways to produce resistance for strengthening in the water. Increasing the surface area, such as opening the hand or holding onto a buoyant device, can increase the resistance using the waters principles. Increasing the speed of a movement which creates turbulence can also increase the difficulty.

If you are in discomfort, are having a hard time moving freely or are just seeking a wonderful experience, try getting in to the pool at Martin Memorial.

--Tara Anstensen
Physical Therapy Assistant

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