MedWatch: Aqua Therapy - Northern Michigan's News Leader

MedWatch: Aqua Therapy

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There's nothing quite like a dip in the pool.

But for some, it's a key to their health and they're finding help close to home.

Learn the benefits of aqua therapy from Kalkaska Memorial Health Center in today's MedWatch report.

"It's been great, to me it's very therapeutic and relaxing."

This is both therapy and exercise for Maryann Stimpson.

She's been through a lot over the past several years. She started physical therapy in the pool for back pain.

"But being that the injury was so long and deteriorating, we decided I needed surgery so I had the surgery. We did rehab there and then, soon as I was able to be back on my feet and drive again, I was back at the pool," explains Maryann.

But once her back pain was gone, she started hurting in other places.

"Summer of ‘14 we had both knees done three months apart. Before that, I did the pool again for rehab before I had the surgery," says Maryann.

And then again, she was back in the pool after surgery.

Today she sticks to it, twice a week.

"It's totally different, because this is a rehab pool. It's got the steps and the bars, everything close enough, and the nice thing is for your limbs it's 92 degrees," she tells us.

Physical therapist Carrie Metevia says the temperature is very important.

"We try to keep the pool about 94 degrees so it's just below body temperature, so it makes it feel warm when you get in, makes it easier to move the joints and the muscles, but it's not hot."

The water provides compression to the joints -- that takes away the pain for many.

"If you're chest deep, which is where it's at for a lot of our patients, then it's 75 percent of your body weight it’s taking away, so you're only bearing 25 percent of your body weight on your limbs," says Carrie.

That means it's perfect for patients with orthopedic problems or those recovering from surgery.

"The warmth of the water, the buoyancy of the water makes it a lot easier for them to move around and just to be able to get the basic movements, a little bit of strength, a little bit of flexibility and eventually they can transition to land based exercises, which are geared to getting them more functional in their daily activities," explains Carrie.

"I'm very invigorated after, tired, but invigorated. It's a different feeling and different exercise than I would do if I was at home on the machines," says Maryann.

For Maryann, it has gone beyond her physical therapy regimen to part of her life.

"I really think that anybody that can do this, they have no idea how much better they would feel, so I will continue to keep coming."