Hydrotherapy as exercise and rehabilitation

We learn something new everyday. This afternoon I had my first ever hydrotherapy session. I was horrified I was even going to hydrotherapy. From swimming two and a half kilometres to hydrotherapy? Noooooooooooo.

It wasn’t as “easy” as I had imagined. The age range was from (I am guessing with the youngest) seventeen to eighty-four.  This session was run by my own physiotherapist, who knows all the bits of me that are flaky! This was convenient. Each person in the session did different things, this was definitely not a water aerobics class! Ms Physio certainly earned her keep.

First she put some paddle things on my hands and I had to hold them still as I walked. They created drag, requiring more effort, but certainly not as much effort as swimming.

Then I did back and forward movements with each leg, followed by calf raises: twenty with both legs together, then twenty on each leg alone.

Next she gave me a kick board, which I had to hold horizontally and push down, then hold vertically and push out, pull in. Also not very hard, but after two sets of twenty of each, I could feel my arms had done something. More muscle use than typing!

Next were sixty squats, followed by these aqua dumbbells. These I had to push down into the water in two different movements and for the life of me now I can only remember one of the movements. This was harder work!

After that I had to noodle. Noodling is not easy, let me tell you. I think there might be some balance stuff in there!

Ms Physio told me to grab a couple of noodles, place them under my arms and then cycle with my legs in deeper water, keeping my back straight and shoulders up. Oh yes, that worked superbly. Not. I’m really going to have to work on that one as I felt I was falling all over the place. At least I can swim so I’m unlikely to drown.

All up it was forty-five minutes. Much less of a “work out” than I am used to, but better than nothing at all and I did learn hydrotherapy is for all ages. No sore knees or shoulders. Probably not enough calories burnt, but more than zero calories.

Ms Physio told me I looked quite tired and to go home and lie down and drink plenty of water. To be perfectly honest I felt…..useless. This is one of the challenges of adjusting to your body packing up prematurely. I kept wanting to be in the lap lane. But not yet. Ms Physio telling me to go home and rest almost made me cry. Rest after such gentle exercise? But it is what it is.

I can certainly recommend hydrotherapy. It might not be what you want to be doing, but it will help. The others I spoke to in class today were very positive about the benefits.

The damn brain fog is still not totally gone. It is better than it was two weeks ago, but I struggle to remember things I’ve just been told. Did she say three sets of ten or three sets of twenty? As I write, I can’t remember the second dumbbell movement I did three hours ago. This bothers me. Mr 14 asked me yesterday, “Mum, if you can’t remember stuff, how do you remember your passwords?”. I think he was hoping I might give him the password to the router in case I forget (not likely, mate). Good question. I explained stuff that was in my long term memory was OK, it was stuff from an hour ago I have trouble with. The eighty-four year old called it “marshmallow brain”. I liked that.

Of course, as anyone who is anyone knows, I’ve been quite stirred up about the proposed changes to Australia’s health system. Hydrotherapy and physiotherapy are more costs those with chronic health conditions might face (depending on their condition) in order to stay active and work. The more I personally experience, the more concerned I become that in many cases the costs would result in people just giving in to their condition, which is so sad. With the right medical and ancillary care, many people with chronic conditions can lead productive lives, if perhaps not as fit and active as in the past. If the costs become prohibitive for the individual, then everyone loses, most importantly the individual.

As this journey continues, I keep learning. More people with chronic conditions contact me and share their own experiences and challenges. I find this both comforting (I am not alone) and sad (there are so many).  I am still looking for new research on the increase of auto-immune conditions, but it is hard to find unless one subscribes to a scientific/research/medical journal or two! I intend to pick the brains of my rheumatologist. Maybe I should go back and finish that science degree I started years ago.

“With the rapid increase in autoimmune diseases, it clearly suggests that environmental factors are at play due to the significant increase in these diseases. Genes do not change in such a short period of time.”

Source: Medical News Today

Back story articles (in chronological order)

6 comments on “Hydrotherapy as exercise and rehabilitation

  1. Forgot about your knees Robyn. The eyesight definitely needs retesting too :-))
    The hips are moving well, did the shopping today, able to walk everywhere without any trouble whatsoever, YAHOO (without a jump of course).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is great, Robyn, how you can remember most of the movements.
    Since I am an arthritis sufferer hydrotherapy should be very good for my ancient body, right? My knee felt rather bad a lot of the time while I was in Melbourne recently. One day I got my son to go to the pool with me. I did just a few very gentle exercises while the son did swim his laps. I felt that these exercises did my whole body a lot of good! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d recommend checking with your physiotherapist or doctor first Uta, but exercise is highly recommended for arthritis. Exercise not only helps muscle strength, but also produces the “feel good” chemical, serotonin. Lots of benefits really.

      It made you feel good, and that is the main thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Got to say Robyn that I have avoided hydrotherapy since I had a stent inserted in my heart. Instructions for ‘pool’ users (especially those in the age group you referred to) is that anyone with a UTI should not be using the pool.
    Well, after 2 doses of UTI after using that lovely warm water easing my aching limbs I decided that I would give it a miss after the 2 THR’s I’ve had over the past 1.5 years.
    What the pool instructions don’t tell you is that a lot of elderly people who use this wonderfully warm water, don’t even know when they have a UTI (urinary tract infection) until it sends them ‘bonkers’ & they end up in hospital.
    So, I guess what I’m trying to say is perhaps some other form of gentle exercise might be more appropriate. I’ve resorted to a nice recumbent cycle. My exercise routine is a good resistance of 2 to 4 for 2 minutes, then 2 minutes of going hard at it, then 2 minutes of cool down. Gets the heart rate up, keeps the legs strong & if you want you can throw in some arm work in with the slower reps.
    I used to love swimming, but having had those 2 UTI’s (one of which ended me up in an o/night stay in hospital attached to a drip to flush out my infected bladder) I won’t be going back in the water anytime soon.
    Love the fact that you are keeping both your mind & your sense of humor well exercised while you are trying to recover. :=))

    Liked by 1 person

    • This isn’t a warm water pool, Sandra. Same pool I’ve been swimming in for years, off and on.

      He he he, the age group was 17 to 84! Quite an age range. Maybe you read “seventy”?

      I can certainly understand you being careful given your circumstances. I can’t cycle at all, recumbent or anything. My knees just will not tolerate the movement.

      I think those shows we all have to select what is appropriate for each individual person’s circumstances.

      Keep this hips moving Sandra! Glad they are both serving you well. All the more reason to protect our health system, I think!


      Liked by 1 person

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