We learn how to breathe.


“Look, Ma, no splash” got some comments, including one from a Certified Nurse Assistant.  Not  many people in health care know about Aqua Therapy.  This morning I asked my instructor why that is, and she said it wasn’t until the Aquatic Therapy & Rehabilitation Institute got started about four years ago that the medical establishment acknowledged something worthwhile was going on.  Still, very few know about it.

If you search for ATRI online, you will see that it has standards and is approved to offer Continuing Education Credits.  (Still, each PT or OT wishing to get certification in AT has to follow his or her own state guidelines.)  Aqua Therapy is a wonderful way to continue benefits gained by Physical Therapy.  Look at the articles page.

The problem is that there are not enough AT-suitable pools.  The temperature of the water has to be about body temperature to be effective for most physical problems.  (Note that some diseases, like MS or cardiac cases, require cooler water.)  Also, the water has to be carefully engineered to the local climate.  Our pool at Santa Rita Springs is indoors, with lots of windows sheltered by overhanging eaves.  If it were outdoors, the blazing Arizona sun would make a dip in the pool even at body temperature a bit of a shock to the system

It's 103 in Tucson today. Here's an idea for shade from the Tohono O'Odham Nation.

Aquatic therapy is not the same as aquatic exercise.  You move slowly (like a dancer, which our instructor, Carolyn Rasht,i is).  In aqua aerobics, you warm up from inside by jumping around a lot faster.

There have been days I didn’t feel real well and was tempted to stay home.  That’s when one should go.  It is always soothing to quietly, slowly, walk into the shallow end of a pool and gradually become immersed in water crystals that are responding to you.  All your cares float away.  You live sensually, in the moment.

Water supports all kinds of movement that would be painful on the ground.  The very hardest thing to do is to breathe properly.  Frequently we are instructed to stop and take deep breaths with our mouths closed, really filling our abdomens with oxygen, and then slowly letting air out through our open mouths until there is not a toxic molecule remaining.  The idea is to breathe in good air to the very part of your body you have just stressed by exercise.  It’s like meeting yourself in the pool.

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