Healing Waters: The Rise of Hydrotherapy Pools

from aquamagazine.com

Since the late 1990s, HydroWorx, a highly specialized manufacturer of rehabilitative aquatic environments, has developed systems designed to help people heal. Here, writer Angelique H. Caffrey takes a look at the power and importance of this growing trend with an eye on HydroWorx' efforts to make water a primary therapeutic venue in both institutional and private settings.

It's believed human beings first recognized the healing power of aquatic exercise and relaxation sometime prior to the height of the Roman Empire. Yet, ironically in many ways, turning to water as a therapeutic environment is considered something of a new trend in our modern world.

Whether relaxing, recovering, walking or even running underwater, people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities can harness the power of water to help themselves physically, psychologically and even socially. As a result, many homeowners and companies are choosing to fit their residences and commercial properties with variable-depth, high-tech, treadmill-and-resistant-jet inclusive private pools whether planning for new construction or renovation.

It's a trend that hasn't gone unnoticed among general contractors, architects and engineers who are increasingly asked by eager homeowners, clinicians, sports figures and facility managers to install pools that can heal the human body and mind.

What is shallow water blackout?


WHO: It can affect anyone that is breath-holding, even the physically fit swimmer. It is especially seen in competitive swimmers, Navy SEALs, snorkelers, spear fishermen or anyone who free-dives. SWB cuts across the spectrum of freediver training affecting all levels. No one is protected from succumbing to SWB.

WHAT: Shallow Water Blackout typically occurs because of low carbon dioxide (CO2) and low oxygen (O2). Unconsciousness occurs when O2 levels in a swimmer are too low. What triggers us to breathe to get O2 is HIGH CO2 not low O2 as one might think. Hyperventilation done before breath-holding lowers the CO2 abnormally so one can hold their breath longer, however, one may experience Shallow Water Blackout even without hyperventilation before breath-holding. The primary cause of SWB is lack of O2 reaching the brain. The CO2 levels may be high as in extreme exertion or low as in hyperventilation. In each case SWB happens. However with low CO2 levels, our bodies are robbed of their built-in mechanism to protect us and tell us to breathe before unconsciousness happens. One basically "blacks out" in the water. For some, their lungs will take on water leading to drowning while others simply suffocate or die of other causes brought on by the breath-holding. Death can be a result of the prolonged breath-holding even if not from so called "Shallow Water Blackout."

WHEN: Frequently, Shallow Water Blackout occurs WITHOUT ANY WARNING of its onset. In fact, because of the hypoxia and detached mental state one can feel euphoric and empowered to continue breath-holding. Unlike regular drowning where there can be 6-8 minutes before brain damage and death, there is ONLY about 2 ½ minutes before BRAIN DAMAGE then DEATH with SWB because the brain has already been oxygen deprived coupled with warm water as in swimming pools, hastening brain death.

Water safety expert: 'Drowning doesn't just happen'

By Jacque Wilson, CNN

(CNN) -- As adults we're told time and again to keep a close eye on young children around water. Most kids who drown are under the age of 4 -- toddlers who accidentally fall into water too deep.

They can drown in minutes in less than 2 inches of water.

But the recent death of a 13-year-old at a pool in Florida has experts concerned about water safety for pre-teens and adolescents.

Anthony Johnson had been playing in a pool at Disney's Pop Century Resort on Sunday. Relatives told CNN affiliate WFTV that Anthony was jumping in and out with friends when they noticed him missing, and pulled him out of the water within minutes.

The boy died Tuesday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Police are still investigating his death.

Ten people die every day from unintentional drowning in the United States, making it the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20% are under the age of 14. Nearly 80% are male.

"The first thing to remember is that drowning doesn't just happen," says Alison Osinski, water safety expert and president of Aquatic Consulting Services. "Something always precipitates drowning."

Only about 35% of Americans know how to swim, and only 2% to 7% swim well, Osinski says. Teens are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and often go past their limits. Exhaustion or disorientation under water could cause a weak swimmer to panic.

Green & Growing

by Scott Webb, Aqua Magazine.com

The pool and spa industry has never been completely comfortable with halogen sanitizers. This merely reflects the general attitude of its customers, who find some aspects of chlorine and bromine use troubling, but have broadly accepted their necessity.

This vague but persistent disquiet has launched a number of innovations over the years that help produce clean, clear water with a reduced level of chlorine, all purporting to provide a more natural experience.

In this category one could include UV, ozone and minerals, among others. Recently, a plant-based product that uses the proven water conditioning properties of sphagnum moss has entered the market. It is growing in popularity and making true believers of industry veterans who have seen a great many such products come and go. "I've been doing this since 1968 and I've never seen anything like it," says Gary Grimes, president, Main Line Commercial Pool and Spa, King Of Prussia, Pa.

Grimes takes care of mostly commercial pools in the Philadelphia area. He says he thought sphagnum moss sounded like "snake oil" until he tried it and his customers started telling him what they were seeing: a dramatic lowering of chlorine usage, and an even more impressive lowering of chloramine production.

He began using sphagnum moss about a year ago and has been impressed with its performance in pool after pool (including his own), which he has documented. Currently, Main Line is using the moss in 15 to 20 commercial pools with plans to install it soon in five new locations.