Editor’s Note: We spoke with Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist Brenda VanSalisbury about Aquatic Therapy. Brenda owns Freedom Rehab Aquatic Therapy and Balance Center located at 17162 Toledo Blade Blvd. in Port Charlotte. Please call 941-400-1505. Learn more online at FreedomRehabAquaticTherapy.com.
What is Aquatic Therapy?
Aquatic therapy is water-based physical rehabilitation that can strengthen your body’s core, support your spine, and relieve knee, back and hip pain. The non-weight bearing water takes the pressure off the back and joints while promoting balance. The relaxing warm water environment allows our patients to perform exercises that are too painful or difficult on land. The buoyancy of the water enhances the range of motion for a person’s joints since mobility is much easier in water.
Who can it help?
Aquatic therapy can help anyone with back or joint pain, neurological deficits such as Parkinson’s or stroke, adults dealing with pre and post joint replacement, and basically anyone experiencing pain or weaknesses from surgery, injuries, or other conditions and challenges.
How many sessions does it take for a patient to achieve results?
It depends on the needs of each individual. Many clients see results in two or three weeks. Each patient wears a floatation belt for safety. There’s no swimming and you won’t get wet from the shoulders up. We stay in the shallow area of the pool and our therapists provide hands on support. Clients can wear a bathing suit or casual attire such as a tee shirt, shorts, or athletic clothing.
What are your other programs?
All of our programs enhance strength and balance. They include our Outpatient on Wheels, Freedom from Falls, Fast Track to Freedom (customized fitness program you can do at home), Weight Loss for Freedom (features more water-based aerobic exercises) and Achieve Virtual Freedom (uses a 3-D virtual reality environment to stimulate learning). Details about each program is posted on our website.
What would you like to share about your workshops?
Our ongoing free workshops provide helpful information about aquatic therapy as it relates to various conditions, recovery and even weight loss. Education is important to healthy living and preventative health. We also provide a virtual support group for adults dealing with Parkinson’s and recovery from a stroke.
Where are you originally from, Brenda, and what brought you and your family to North Port?
I was born and raised in Queens, New York. I came to Sarasota on a vacation, and we relocated six- months later. My husband and I have lived here for 20 years and our 14-year-old daughter, Mya, is a Florida native.