AquaStretch is a pool therapy and is a bit of a misnomer. There’s less stretching than there is squeezing. rotating, gripping. shredding, shaving, grilling, and pulling. Okay, there’s no shredding, shaving, or grilling, and pulling is part of stretching, but still. That stuff hurts.
I’ve had so many different kinds of treatments for chronic pain and the growing inability to walk on my own, I should write a book about them all. If I could remember them all. They included Thai massage, spinal decompression, sports massage, trigger points, myofascial release, acupuncture (which says it all right in the name- Ack! You puncture!), and a few with names that escape me.
I’m quite willing to try anything that helps with pain. At least I used to be. I soon came to the conclusion that all this stuff feels great for a short time afterward (all except physical therapy, which is the stupidest therapy since sacrificial rites held at the full moon and it hurts before, during, and after), but the relief doesn’t last long, all of it is expensive, and none of it is covered by insurance. Except of course, physical therapy. Natch.
So, with very bad grace, I agreed to go try out this AquaStretch therapy that the MOTH had heard about from a customer. A man had come into the shop and raved about it, so right away, I gotta go try it, according to the Powers That Be A Pain in My Neck. It’s all on the down low, though. I had to call the doctor directly, in the evening, at his house.
The therapy takes place in the baby pool at a big aquatic center. I hate that baby pool. It’s three feet deep and I’m fifty feet tall, so wading through it is like trying to walk around your downtown area after a flood. Only there are small children playing around your feet. They should put play fire hydrants in there so I really would feel like the streets are flooded and kids are floating by.
Anyhoo, this young woman introduced herself and told me to float while relaxing and holding onto the railing in the pool. After telling me to say, “That hurts,” if it hurt, she grabbed my big toe, and I said, “That hurts.”
It did, too. But she continued to grasp it and began to ask me a few standard questions while she rotated my hips and yanked my leg around. She pulled it awhile and told me to rotate it. After a bit, the doc took over. The doc is the man who developed this technique. He studied this therapy for six months under the Marquis de Sade’s tutelage.
He’s actually a retired osteopath, I think, and taught at UNLV. He’s an older man, about 70, which feels weird to say, because I’m an ‘older woman’ now, but my brain hasn’t caught up to that fact, no matter how much my body throws at it. Since I still work out in the pool to rock and roll, and feel 20 while I’m doing it, my brain is holding onto this illusion by its finger tips. I like that about my brain.
The doc has a bark that ticked me off, and I almost decided not to go back. Kept barking orders at me like it was basic training and I should know what he was doing, dammit. He asked me where I felt pain or restriction, and then he pushed his thumb (I think, I hope it was his thumb), into various parts of my upper leg and up into my suit, into my bottom. It got a little racy in there.
He pressed really hard and then would say, “There, I felt it release.” Then I’d have to rotate my leg and hips, and keep telling them where it felt tight. I would start to tell him, and he’d bark at me, “Don’t say! Point.” So, I’d point. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds, because much of the time, my legs feel painful and tight all over.
At one point, he had my leg and was talking to his assistant. He said, RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and IN MY HEARING, “We have to teach these people how to take care of themselves.”
That, that right there, was the main reason I may never have gone back. These people?? How to take care of themselves? ? What? Was I an immigrant at the turn of the century who doesn’t speak English, and was half dead from not washing my hands and clothes, or something? He’s lucky he survived my aqua therapy for rude men. I can outlast a lot of men in their twenties with my pool work out. Bring it, buster.
(Yeah, yeah. I know. He’s used to barking out orders and being a professional.)
After going through this torture for awhile, he told me to walk up the ramp and see how I felt. My legs felt like Jello. But I had to admit, there wasn’t any pain. As I came back down the ramp- I could have scuttled to the safety of the locker room, I realize that now- he asked where else I had pain or tightness. I said the top of my leg and he barked, “Don’t say! Point!”
So I pointed to the top of my thigh, and he said, “The top of your leg is here!” pointing to my kneecap. Okay, even if I stood on my head, that wouldn’t be the top of my leg. It would still be the middle of my leg. I decided he’d inhaled too much chlorine at this point.
The upshot is, I noticed a lessening in pain and tightness, even though two days later I got trigger points. And the effect seemed to last for several days. I don’t know if this therapy is offered in other places- I believe it is- but it’s worth a try for pain relief in the back, legs, and shoulders, too, I imagine.
If you like pain to get rid of pain, give it a try. I’m going back next week.
Update: I went back and a young man did my therapy. He has some hands. I almost fell asleep in the water and drowned. I decided to forego the trigger points to see if the therapy outdid the shots. So far, so good. I move better and have less pain. I want that young guy again.