Monday, 29 July 2013

Walking in water - what a huge difference it's made to my health!

I started doing water therapy because my aunt said she believed it was the main thing that had enabled her to make a full recovery from total disablement within only two years! With the help of her physio via e-mail I have implemented a regime that is giving me real hope of a full recovery!

When I first started the water therapy in December 2012  I was too ill to drive the 10 mins to the pool and back and when I got out after being in for only 5 mins, getting dressed felt like climbing a mountain! After maybe 4-5 weeks I was able to start driving myself on good days and after about 8 weeks I was driving myself all the time and getting dry & dressed got easier and easier. Despite having a couple of dips during the past 7 months - one because of a chest infection - I am now so much more robust all the time. I easily get myself to the pool and back, I can shower and wash my hair, and get dry and dressed easy as anything and I am getting stronger and stronger and apart from my fatigue and adrenalin symptoms all my other symptoms are gone!

I know that part of this improvement is due to my pacing schedule (see previous post), but I believe a huge part of it is down to walking in water. During my 6 week chest infection where I had to give in and stop going to the pool for a couple of weeks my nasty symptoms started increasing and I was sugar crashing, feeling really sick in every cell of my body and my adrenalin was getting difficult to bear. I e-mailed the physio  in South Africa in despair, but she reassured me that once I got back in the water these symptoms would abate again. I couldn't quite believe this -  despite having observed what a positive affect the water had on my symptoms previously -  but she was right! Immediately after the first session they started improving again and after a couple of sessions those nasty symptoms, that make me feel like lying down and dying, had gone!

I wear a heart rate monitor in the pool and I had noticed right from the start that my heart rate could be 140 bpm, but as soon as I got in the water I could just watch it start dropping to somewhere between 60 - 80 bpm. I also noticed that despite feeling really rotten going to the pool, after a visit those symptoms were normally much improved following the visit. Why?

Well  I think two things are going on: 1) the weight of the water pressure around the body is helping counter orthostatic intolerance (see my previous post) helping to close the blood vessels and push blood back up toward the brain, and 2) the sensation on my skin as I move through the water is giving the nerves and neural pathways something else to communicate to the brain other than symptoms. Kind of confusing the brain somewhat and interrupting the sick messages going between brain and body. In addition, it also has the effect of  graded type exercise that gives the brain a rib cage that it can acclimatise to, but it is certainly a lot more than a graded exercise regime!

My next post will teach you precisely how to do water therapy so you can try it for yourself!

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