Olga was looking for a way to help manage her Parkinson’s disease. She was going to physical therapy regularly to do all she could to keep it in check. She was diligent with her exercises, but they just weren’t enough – until she tried water therapy.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. Visible signs are tremors that can develop gradually. But there is also stiffness, slowing of movement, and so much more.
“The unpredictability of Parkinson’s made therapy exercises hard for me. One minute I’d be working on a walking exercise and the next minute I’d fall flat on the floor,” Olga said, remembering the difficulty she had when she was in land therapy.
Seeing her frustration, Olga’s doctor encouraged her to try water therapy. He knew that studies indicate water therapy can help manage Parkinson’s disease. While there aren’t many studies out there, one reports that water therapy can help improve stability in Parkinson’s patients.
Willing to try anything, Olga (accompanied by her husband, Tom) went to the pool hoping it would help. “I remember feeling safe in the water right away,” said Olga. The water’s buoyancy kept her afloat and eliminated the possibility of falling. The warm water was inviting, and she recalls how much she liked it that first day.
“The water’s weightlessness gave me the confidence I needed to complete my exercises. And, the more confident I felt, the more I did. It was so much fun.”
The water also helped minimize the joint pressure and pain Olga experienced performing the same exercises on land. At first, her exercises were simple. She worked on marching and walking in place. She needed to strengthen her core and balance. Olga then progressed to walking forward and backward on her toes and on her heels. “After eight weeks, I saw a big difference in my functional ability.”
Then came the day when Olga was flipping through a home magazine and saw an ad for a SwimEx swim spa. “It was meant to be,” she said. “The photograph was of a simple and beautiful home swim spa. I knew right away I had to have one.”
Olga and her husband Tom began to design plans to build their own home pool room. They worked with SwimEx engineers, purchased the SwimEx 500 OS, and installed their new pool.
Now they both use the swim spa all the time. “I’m in the pool with my therapist at least 4 times a week for an hour each time. And, the water flow current that the SwimEx provides has helped me do even more.”
When Olga first got the pool, she said she could barely walk in a straight line, even with the water current turned off. “I was a pushover – literally,” she joked. Now, each time she gets in the pool she increases the water current little by little, and it’s helping her get stronger.
“I’m feeling better and better all the time. Now when I’m in the pool, it makes me feel alive.”
- See our resources for architects designing a home therapy pool area.
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