Recreational Therapists are vital to the healthcare industry because they too provide treatment to individuals with disabilities or illnesses, doing so through carefully planned and implemented recreational activities or exercises. In physical rehabilitation settings, they may also provide treatment to individuals using a variety of other techniques, including aquatic therapy, to treat orthopedic and neurological patients.
To that end, I recently started Pisces Aquatic Services in Houston, TX. The mission of Pisces is to introduce aquatic therapy to healthcare providers in the Greater Houston metro as well as the entire State of Texas. However, I am especially interested in championing the magic of water to my fellow Recreational Therapists. Not only because they will be able to broaden their horizons with new hands-on techniques but also because of lives they will be able to impact by progressing their patients faster and more painlessly. After taking these classes and learning these evidence-based skills, Recreational Therapists will be better able to align themselves with others in the allied health profession, to include physical, occupational, and massage therapists who have also come to embrace the power of the pool.
If you are a CTRS and have been looking for a way to set yourself apart, consider diving into your first class this coming October 10th and 11th. Not only will you get to rub shoulders with PTs and OTs from around the country, you'll be earning 16 hours of ATRA credits while you are doing it.
(By Ryan Greene, guest blogger)
Pisces Aquatic Services is an affiliate of Aquatic Therapy University and Ryan Greene is ATU's new TX Campus Director. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
There are many certifications in the allied health industry, making it hard for patients to know whom is medically-qualified to treat them. The same goes for aquatic therapy. To eliminate this confusion, ATU has created the perfect alternative: the Aquaticist℠ credential, the first-ever postgraduate patent awarded to licensed PTs/PTAs/OTs/OTAs only.
This credential is not the same as certification. Aquatic therapy certification involves extra fees and exams and expensive annual renewals. Instead, all you need to become an Aquaticist℠ is your attendence and satisfactory completion of any five of our 30+ progressive post-graduate courses.
"Sounds great," you say? "I'll just take a couple of 3-4 hour mini-classes and I'll be certified!" Think again. Our courses are grueling 16-hour seminars that will leave your head swollen and your legs wobbly. But when you have finished your 84-hour evidence-based progression you'll know that you accomplished something. And so will your boss and co-workers. Think of it as getting your major in aquatic therapy, only without the dorm food.
You can complete your studies in as long as 5 years or you can finish it in as fast as 10-days. Either way, like a diploma, it can never expire. Once an Aquaticist℠, always an Aquaticist℠.
From Hawaii to the UK. From Anchorage to Puerto Rico. ATU is saturating the globe with new opportunities to learn the from the best when it comes to treating your patients in the water. We offer new content (Pilates/Yoga) to the industrial-strength standbys (Aquatic Therapy Boot Camp). All our curriculum is taught by licensed degreed physical therapists so you know you are getting the latest evidence-based education out there ... and get recognized for it while you're at it. You can earn your Aquaticist℠ credential one class at-a-time or as quick as 10 days.
If your routine has left you alone and neglected and your skills are getting rusty and stale, come get refreshed at an ATU campus near you. We are here to help shine you up!
This holiday retreat is intended to give you the credits you need to earn your Aquaticist℠-In-Training credential while providing a refreshing vacation experience for you and your family. Get immersed into the latest breaking aquatic therapy techniques in a magical thermal lagoon while your family hikes and bikes and tours the tropical island of Hawaii.
A total of 36 credit hours (42 CCUs) of core content is what we will be teaching, beginning with our 4.0 hour Aquatic Therapy Boot Camp DVD which can be viewed in the comfort of your home or clinic before class. Next, you will fly to Hawaii on Christmas day so you'll be ready for your first class, the Ortho/Neuro Survey. This class meets on Fri and Sat and will expose you to the most popular aquatic techniques currently being used in clinics across the globe. Think of it as The Appetizer Sampler of Aquatic Therapy seminars. Then, on Sunday, we will be giving you the day off to recouperate and to spend quality time with your family before finishing up with our Musculo Primer class on Mon and Tues.
Click here for more information.
Can't make it for Christmas? Try Puerto Rico in August instead!
Question: We have a patient that may benefit from aquatic therapy - however, the patient is positive for Hepatitis C - would this be a concern for aquatic therapy?
Answer: Hepatitis C (and B) is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact, like occurs with transfusions, needle sticks, and IV drug use. The CDC is not aware of any instances in which a person has become infected with these germs after being exposed to a blood spill in a pool (see their statement below). Hep B and C are not fecal borne, like Hepatitis A.
Even if an infected patient had a cut or other method of blood spill, properly treated pool water will kill the pathogens almost immediately. The way that I read it, the CDC feels that blood spills are not even a reason for the pool to shut down, the likelihood of any blood borne pathogen to transmit is so infinitesimal. That said, you should always follow your facility infection control policies and any existing guidelines from your local or state regulatory agencies if they conflict with this information!
Here is the CDC's policy:
Check for existing guidelines from your local or state regulatory agency before use. Healthy Swimming recommendations do not replace existing state or local regulations or guidelines.
The most common germs spread through recreational water are ones that cause diarrheal illnesses and skin rashes. These germs are spread by swallowing or by skin exposure to water that has been contaminated with germs. Coming into contact with vomit and/or blood in pool water is unlikely to spread illness.
Germs found in blood (for example, Hepatitis B virus or HIV) are spread when infected blood or certain body fluids get into the body and bloodstream (for example, by sharing needles or by sexual contact). Chlorine kills germs found in blood and CDC is not aware of any instances in which a person has become infected with these germs after being exposed to a blood spill in a pool.
In the water, patients may be challenged beyond limits of stability without the fear of consequences of falling which are often present with land-based balance training. The environment leads to improvement in balance reactions which are translatable to land.
#1. Sensory and Motor Input. Movement through water is affected by turbulence and viscosity. Water is more viscous than air, and resistance to flow through water is greater than resistance to flow through air. Thus, it takes more force to push through water molecules than to push through air molecules. The faster an object is pushed through the water, the more turbulence is created and this creates additional resistance to movement. Additionally, the viscosity of water creates drag and this drag stimulates the sensory systems of the body.
#2. Reaction Time. A body immersed is surrounded by a viscous fluid which retards the speed of movement. This viscosity prevents rapid falling and elongates the period of time in which a patient can respond to a shift of his center of mass outside his base of support.
#3. Safety. In water, the natural end result of any loss of balance which is not corrected is a fall into a compliant fluid (water) and not a fall to a noncompliant solid (the ground). Thus, the patient may be challenged to move outside his base of support without fear of traumatic consequences. Which brings us to...
#4. Fear of Failure. This reduction in patient anxiety may encourage the patient to attempt tasks which he would not attempt on land. It becomes possible to elicit balance challenges which the patient has both time and mental confidence to combat. On land, without the assistance of such aquatic properties, the resultant balance responses may be incomplete or absent.
#5. Alertness and Arousal. A recent case report focused on how a nonambulatory patient with advanced Alzheimers made major gains in alertness and arousal after treatment with aquatic therapy using the Halliwick concept.
Want some ideas on how to aquatic balance train... with a cognitive kick?
Attend Andrea Salzman's Novel Aquatic Strategies class in Birmingham, AL March 14-15, 2014.
Supporting Literature (Full-text):
Are you located in a college town and want to know how to reach out to their athletes? Are you considering a training program for your high school football players but don't know where to start? Here are the places our Founder goes when she wants to inquire from the best in plyo:
Just want to download the latest research on aquatic plyometrics? Here you go...
I took your Musculo Primer class in Eden Prairie last Summer with the people from Hong Kong. I am wondering if you can send/forward me a sample of one of your daily PT notes for pool therapy. We are getting more pool referrals from MDs and I am putting what I learned from your class to use :) but wanted to see an example or template for daily notes, especially to ensure I'm documenting all the correct things for reimbursement. I am hoping to take another of your courses in the upcoming year! Thanks, Sarah L, Northfield, MN
Thank you so much for the kind words. We are delighted to hear that your business is prospering. To that end, I have attached some samples to use for documentation. I am also enclosing library language that you are free to use in your assessments to justify aquatic therapy.
Until then, don't be a stranger. Let us know of any success stories we can forward on to our members!
Grand Opening coming up? Starting a new aquatic practice? Here is a list of our recommended items to consider for your Aquatic Therapy Equipment Starter Kit. All prices reflect our current listings on www.swimatu.com and are subject to change without notice. Things to think about before ordering for your facility include pool size, max concurrent sessions, patient census and budget.
Sprint Minimum Resistance Bells, Min Resistance (#729) (1 set at $26.20)
Sprint AquaSprinter Belt (#700) (1 large @ $29.50) (for positioning on back)
Sprint BodyFit Collar (#707) (1 @ $29.99)
Sprint Velcro Neoprene Gloves (#783) (1 medium @ $14.95)
Sprint Velcro Neoprene Gloves (#783) (1 xtra large @ $14.95)
Sprint Dive Sticks (#199) (2 sets @ $7.10) (for fine motor manipulation during gross motor acts in pool)
Sprint Egg Flipps (#158) (3 sets @ $8.75) (for oral motor training and respiratory challenges)
Sprint Flow Through Mat Small (#704) (1 @ $55.00) (for UE weight bearing, prone positioning and more)
Our facilities are initiating an aquatic program in a hotel pool. We would appreciate guidance toward the most updated rules and regulations, specifically re: the pool being closed to the public v. a section being roped off.
Here is the latest info!
Andrea Salzman, MS, PT Director of Programming
Andrea Salzman, MS, PT
Really? Aquatic therapy as a promising treatment for the cardiopulmonary client? So many therapists are still leery of working with the cardiopulmonary-compromised patient in the pool. We get questions like this all the time: Is full body immersion even safe for the congestive heart? Won't the emphysema patient experience a tremendous increase in the work of breathing? What about the rumors that vertical immersion increases arrhythmias for the post-MI patient?
We will conquer all the hesitations... and make an evidence-based case FOR both the safety and effectiveness of treating these at-risk populations in the water. Learn the latest treatments with us at our upcoming Justifiable Aquatic Therapy Strategies for the Client with Cardiopulmonary Compromise class in Phoenix next week.
Here are some of the things we will be teaching:
More and more people are getting their news from their mobile devices. Now you can get your aquatic therapy fix on your iPhone or Android, too. Just go to www.flipboard.com to install the Flipboard app on your smartphone or tablet, then type eSplash into the magazine search box. Your device will now receive a live stream of our stories, as we build the next issue. All in beautiful living color. Just promise us not to get distracted with patients in the water.
At the completion of her final 2-week Intensive class on Wednesday, Fezia Tyebally became the world's first Aquatic Therapy Professional℠. This credential was newly created by Aquatic Therapy University as a way to recogonize those non-therapists who complete 84 hours of aquatic therapy classes. Fezia is a massage and sacralcranial therapist from Malaysia and has been in Knoxville, TN for the last two weeks to sharpen her already extensive skill set in pediatric aquatic therapy. Fezia has a 16-year old special needs child whom she treats, along with others, in her own clinic in Kuala Lampur. In addition to broadening her client base, Fezia also plans to use her award to advance the state of aquatic therapy in her island nation.
ATU's next 2-week Intensive is meeting in Minneapolis in August. It is being attended by students from Hong Kong and Puerto Rico and is open for registration.
As a former competitive swimmer and daughter of an Olympic swimmer, water has always been a part of Fezia Tyebally’s life. When her son Amir suffered a near drowning accident leaving him severely brain injured, she left her career in marketing behind and looked for any type of therapy to allow him to move and rehabilitate.
“We tried the water and he actually moved in it. So he actually likes the water,” explained Tyebally, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
She now owns and operates Amir’s gym from her home, focusing on strength, stamina and wellness for differently abled children. One side contains a physiotherapy gym and the other a swimming pool and a spa pool.
When he was 13, her son became severely ill and was unable to move from his back. Scoliosis developed but before surgery was pursued, Tyebally worked with him for six months using CranioSacral therapy, myofascial release and water techniques. She made sure to get in the pool every day, even if it was just for 15 minutes.
“In six months, there was an improvement of 20 percent,” she explained. “I knew this was good; I needed to do more.”
Since then, Tyebally has researched and completed programs to expand her knowledge. Among the therapies she uses are Watsu, a combination of hydrotherapy and shiatsu, and the Claire Timmermans Method, a water program for special needs children. She will be expanding her knowledge base next week attending Aquatic Therapy University’s two-week pediatric intensive course in Tennessee June 24 – July 3.
Part of the two weeklong course will be held at Clinton Physical Therapy Center in Clinton, Tenn. Co-owner of CPTC, Kelly Lenz, PT, CEES, a therapist for 29 years, opened the clinic in 1988.
“I wanted the freedom to treat patients,” she explained. “I didn’t want a limit on how long I could spend with a patient or limits on treatment choices.”
Lenz strives to make her clinic a resource for the community.
“We’re well-rounded as far as being able to treat most any kind of patients there is since we have a lot of specialized programs. The pool is one of those.”
Lenz is looking forward to the additional tools and techniques the seminar will provide to her staff, especially for those handling pediatric patients. The clinic treats patients with conditions ranging from delayed motor development, spina bifida, cerebal palsy, down syndrome to autism.
“Having access to the aquatic environment with patients is incredible as far as working with them and especially early intervention,” Lenz said.
In Malaysia, Tyebally sees a great need to expand aquatic therapy as it is seldom used. She sees other clinics where aquatic therapy consists of putting arm bands on patients and allowing them to splash around.
“That’s not hydrotherapy,” Tyebally explains. “What I would really like to be able to do is to teach therapists and even parents that you can use the water.”
She said there is a government system in place for health care in Malaysia, but for special needs children it can be almost negligible. Tyebally often works in Singapore and Indonesia to provide care for children.
“I want to change people’s perception of what happens in the water; that it can be used for so many things,” Tyebally said.
One patient at CPTC, an avid hiker, suffered from multiple rib and spinal fractures following an accident. He was determined to resume hiking within six months of the accident.
“He was not going to sit around and wait while he healed. He wanted to be able to do something,” Lenz said. “Had we not had the pool, it would have been a much longer process because we would not have been able to start as soon as we did.”
The seminar is taught by Kiki Dickinson and Andrea Salzman. Salzman is the founder of Aquatic Therapy University. Both Lenz and Tyebally said they are looking forward to the seminar and the knowledge the instructors will provide.
“We are delighted to have Andrea (Salzman) come use our facility. She’s the expert in the field, nationally and probably internationally as well,” Lenz said. “It will be great to have her here and have our staff be able to take advantage of her expertise.”
Tyebally agreed. “Every time I search the internet and I’m looking for answers or research that’s been done, it’s always done by Andrea.”
Tyebally said the hardest part of her trip to the United States will be leaving her son, but she has explained to him why she is going.
“There will be a lot I can do for him and for other kids,” she said. “He likes to be able to help people. If you tell him that this will happen and it’s going to help someone … he’s quite happy about it.”
See Fezia's webpage here.
(Article written by Stephanie Johnson)
Merritt Island, FLA. Parents from around the world are converging on this small coastal town in hopes that a controversial new therapy will help their children cope with conditions ranging from post-operative rehabilitation to hypersensitivities to touch.
The new program is an off-shoot of dolphin therapy which was popular until 2010, the year dolphins were put under the protection of the Federal Wildlife Agency. However, the need for alternative fish-based therapies never abated and to cope with the demand, dolphins have been replaced by specially-trained domesticated sharks which children as young as 3-yrs old can now touch, swim and even hitch a ride.
"The turn-around we are seeing in these kids is amazing," said Ellen Trumfounder, director of Swim For Your Life Aquatic Camps. "Sure, they start out crying when they see that big fin coming at them, but soon they are splashing and yelling and interacting with others with great fervor. I've actually seen it bring tears to some parent's eyes."
And the pediatric self-improvement industry is standing up and taking notice. "We are watching this development closely," said John Ferburr, president of the Skinner Foundation. "Studies have shown that violent video-games, giant 3D IMAX shoot-em-up movies and loud monster truck shows have hardened young people to the point where gentle, non-threatening dolphins no longer make an impact. Sharks, in the meantime, seem to be one of the only things left that can make the immediate type of impression we are looking for."
Naturally, the new movement has its detractors, some who say the dangers far outweigh the benefits. One of these groups, Citizens for Halting Underwater Mayhem, are particularly dismayed that parents would subject their children to such extreme ends.
"I don't think the government should allow this to happen," yelled Doris Rhydermacher, CHUM's spokesperson who was protesting outside the camp gate. "Just look at those precious babies bobbing in the water with those menacing things floating by. They must look like little Skittles to them."
"These sharks are well-fed and are bred to be non-threatening," answered the flustered Trumfounder. "I assure you they are no more dangerous than manatees."
"Manatees with very sharp teeth," mocked the protesters.
In fact, Swim For Your Life has been cited for numerous violations of child safety laws in the past. The last one being in December, 2012, when the Broward County Child Welfare agency fined the resort $350 for a shark attack on a 9-year old boy recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
"Yes, that case was an anomaly and has been fixed," said Trumfounder. "We forgot to feed Fat Nat that day but he has since been defanged and should no longer be a problem," she added. "Besides the stitches, the session was a success because during his emergency egress, the boy was finally able to demonstrate full range of motion."
If you would like to try your luck with shark therapy, enroll your children now by contacting the resort at firstname.lastname@example.org. Slots are filling fast for their next scheduled retreat this coming April 1st.
Join us for the April 23, 2013 webinar: Evidence-Based Aquatic Therapy for Clients at Risk for Falls: Parkinson's, CVA, Ortho, Elderly & Beyond.
Ortho & Neuro balance disorders will be discussed.
Aquatic Therapy Versus
Conventional Land-Based Therapy for Parkinson's Disease: An
Open-Label Pilot Study
Feasibility of 2 Different Water-Based Exercise Training Programs in Patients With Parkinson's Disease: A Pilot Study
Lastly, here is a downloadable book Aquatic Exercises for Parkinson's Disease.
You've heard every rationale in the book from payers who want to discontinue aquatic therapy.
So, when the day comes when a gorgeous piece of literature comes out which makes the case for aquatic therapy -- and that case is not just (unequivocally) pro-aquatic therapy, but pro-starting-as-early-as-4-days-post-op, well, it's time to celebrate.
This systematic review/meta-analysis is equivalent to the Holy Grail... desired by all, long sought, yet always elusive.
Attend March 26th webinar for a much more extensive look at the ramifications of this study and many others. We will be incorporating this study into a free brochure you can use to give to refering physicians after the webinar.
REVIEW ARTICLE (META-ANALYSIS): Early Aquatic Physical Therapy Improves Function and Does Not Increase Risk of Wound-Related Adverse Events for Adults After Orthopedic Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.
Even the title makes me shiver. Let's look at the good news:
“We can take care of any need. Aquatics can meet any need a person has,” Childress explained.
The new pool at the LIFT Wellness Center in Jackson, Tenn. has a deep well which will aid patients who are hindered by weight bearing. It also contains a four lane lap pool, a heated therapy pool and a large hot tub. The pool is equipped with UV lighting and an Evacuator pool system to make it comfortable for even the most sensitive of clients. The four other pools are located in Dyersburg, Humboldt, Milan and Jackson, Tenn.
While aquatic therapy can certainly help patients with fibromyalgia and arthritis, Childress hopes aquatic therapy can overcome the stigma that it is just for older patients.
“You don’t think about (aquatic therapy) with the well population,” she said. “It’s not just for the physically challenged.”
She hopes physicians and those in her community will understand benefits available so close to home. Although some clients may not know how to swim, this should not stop them from pursuing aquatic therapy for their needs.
“We’ve seen miracle after miracle of what aquatics can do, both personally and professionally,” Childress said.
Childress’ interest in aquatics started after attending a conference in 1999. “I just soaked it in after that,” she said of her passion, even if her day to day activities now primarily consist of management duties.
Childress and her staff currently work with student athletes in the West Tennessee area: 15 high schools and two community colleges. The staff trainers assist with athletic training, on-field assessments, taping and prevention. Each trainer is assigned to a clinic. If an injury is prescribed physical therapy, they often can utilize aquatic therapy at one of their four pools.
“I get the kids in there and afterwards they just look at me and say ‘Miss LeAnn, you kicked my butt!’”
Childress said because of the small town atmosphere in West Tennessee, the junior leagues will often contact the trainers as well, which she views as a positive. Besides organized sports athletes, she also wants others to know aquatic therapy may be beneficial for them, like the weekend rock climber or home gardener.
“Triathletes, runners and marathoners have really picked up here in Tennessee and we can help them get the help they need,” she said.
To further the staff’s knowledge as their customer base grows, Sports Plus AquaTherapies will host Aquatic Therapy University and their Aquatic Training for the Collegiate, Professional and Elite Athlete seminar March 1 and 2.
Childress said she is specifically excited about learning new sport specific techniques.
“A lot of the athletes are in the best shape of their life with their strength and endurance, but they can lose it so fast because they can’t do load-bearing exercises after an injury,” she said.
The Sports Plus AquaTherapies facility has worked with ATU in the past and was able to increase their staff’s knowledge base through their industry recognized aquatic expertise. Childress said they plan on hosting an ATU seminar every year to continue to learn new skills.
She encourages other facilities wanting to venture into aquatic therapy to not give up. Childress advises to start small if needed and to try working with pools in local hotels.
“It’s the best thing that’s happened to us in my opinion,” she said.
Read more about LeAnn here: http://www.westtnmedicalnews.com/news.php?viewStory=2023
Have you noticed the new push for justification?
Aquatic therapy is on the cusp of an explosion of popularity, but watch out! Because insurers pay more for aquatic therapy than almost any of therapeutic procedure, they are starting to demand clear and ongoing justification for continued aquatic treatment.
Well, you are in luck.
Thanks to the heavy lifting being done at Aquatic Therapy University, we have some library language that can be inserted directly into your computerized documentation system.
You have ATU's permission to incorporate this language for clinical uses!
Download entire document (PDF)
Send thank you email to ATU!
Click on the links below and get open access to these resources:
Answer: Yikes! Big Question. Let's look at the highlights.
Renting. Are you planning to rent space in an outside facility pool instead of building? Here is a link to an article that might be helpful. (It lists the scary things to watch out for, so don't panic when you read it, but it will open your eyes to what to consider.)
To read more about renting (what is the going rate, etc), go here.
Medicare: If you are going to treat Medicare patients in that community pool, you have to rent exclusive use of a portion of the pool. Your client can't intermingle with the public during your sessions.
Building in Rental Poperty: Considering building your pool in a strip mall or other leased property? Click here first.
Prefabs: Want to start up your start-up with a prefabricated pool. See the list here.
Books: Don't go it alone. Get the books that will guide you all the way.
Consulting: If you are looking for professional help, click here.
Misc: Read some other Aquatic Therapy start-up tips here.
Esplash: Or to read our aquatic therapy industry hotsheet, go to www.getresponse.com/archive/esplash
Eight years ago Stacy Lynch of Summit Therapy Group, Phoenix, Ariz. was thrown into the aquatic therapy pool and since then, he hasn’t looked back.
“I went from having just four visits in the pool in three months to being in the pool every day for two to six hours, constantly learning,” Lynch said.
And that constant learning process is what stuck with him. He says the more education and knowledge he gained about aquatic therapy, the more he knew it was something he wanted to be doing.
Lynch has been a physical therapy assistant for 17 years and works mostly with geriatric patients in aquatic therapy. But he didn’t always concentrate on aquatics. In fact, he didn’t always want to be a physical therapy assistant. It was in a college bookstore at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas where Lynch met a man who sparked his interest in physical therapy.
“I saw this man in a wheelchair and I discovered myself just staring at him. I was watching him put his books on the counter with his feet, write his check with his feet and hand it to the cashier with his feet. I felt compelled to talk to him.”