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Astound Physical Therapy has aquatic therapy unit services

“This is the best therapy. It really is.”

That’s how Julian Johnson of Atmore described his aquatic therapy at Astound Physical Therapy.

This January, the local physical therapy business acquired a HydroWorx Aquatic Therapy unit to help patients gain strength and endurance.

Physical Therapist Lena Hardy said patients enter the machine, where water – at 85 degrees – pumps in from below to around 4 feet.

Hardy said the machine utilizes a treadmill to help patients move while 80 percent of their body weight isn’t bearing on their joints and other areas.

“I have seen several people who have spinal stenosis,” she said. “Once that gets to a certain degree, their walking and standing tolerance goes to 5 minutes. Strength training for them is very hard because their standing and walking tolerance is hard. With this machine, they are exercising and getting 30 minutes of work they haven’t done in years.”

Hardy said a jet in the middle of the machine adds resistance for strength training and balance. Additionally, she said patients can sit in the machine and perform strength-training exercises.

Hardy said the aquatic therapy machine is a good way for patients with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other maladies to get some work on the body in a less forceful and easier way.

“One day they were doing a 0.5 (speed option), and well the next time they did a 0.6 or 0.7 walking the whole time with the jet on in resistance,” she said. “It’s great. I love it. I love it. I love it. It’s very beneficial. It makes them feel good about themselves.”

Johnson, who had a stroke recently, said the machine has been a tremendous help. He said he does 30-minute sessions and it helps with his walking and messages his muscles.

Hardy said Johnson is one of five patients utilizing the aquatic machine.

And the machine can be used for athletes’ injuries as well, she said.

“They’ll be able to run a lot faster than they can on land,” she said. “Here, we can start practicing a lot earlier to take the weight off the joints. That’s with any type of surgery. They can weight bare sooner.”

Those who are interested in the aquatic therapy, contact Hardy at Astound Physical Therapy at 251-321-0799.